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Back-to-back decathlon wins for Oxnard

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One day after the football world was praising the Green Bay Packers for their prowess on professional football’s biggest stage, Ventura County’s education community was honoring the Oxnard High School team for its superior ability on the academic stage.

For the second straight year, Oxnard’s young scholars won the right to compete for the state title by showing their smarts during the annual Ventura County Academic Decathlon at Pacifica High School in Oxnard.

In being named champions of the two-day competition, Oxnard’s nine-member team managed to best 11 other county high schools. Westlake High School came in second place, while Oak Park High School’s efforts were good enough for third.

Oxnard team members will now travel to the state championship, set from March 11-14 in Sacramento. The state winner will then go on to the national Academic Decathlon competition April 27-30 in Charlotte, N.C. This will be Oxnard’s fourth trip to the state contest.

As in previous years, all the teams — consisting of A, B and C students — endured months of study sessions in preparation for the 2011 decathlon and its theme: the Great Depression.

Once the competition got under way Saturday, the student decathletes were pitted against each other in several areas, including tests in math, literature and social science. They also participated in impromptu speeches, essays and personal interviews, all related to the Great Depression.

One of the more grueling but most fun events of the competition is the Super Quiz, a college-bowl-style quiz consisting of multiple-choice questions; parents and friends are welcomed to attend and cheer for the students. The final results saw Oxnard taking first, Westlake second and Newbury Park High School capturing third place.

Preparing for the decathlon takes a true commitment not only on the part of students, but also of coaches, parents and volunteers. One and all deserve recognition.

The Star salutes the champs from Oxnard: Danielle Bonucchi, Ian Cossman, Sarah Watte, Chase Bennett, Jeffrey Moore, Natalia Russel, Kyree Childress, Sasan Samadzadeh, Spencer Stevenson and their coach, Chris Conte.

Good luck to these academic wizards at next month’s statewide Academic Decathlon competition.

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