TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Led by a record-setting effort by Piper Gray, the Canyon del Oro High School (CDO) Academic Decathlon team won their 17th consecutive regional championship on Saturday, Feb. 3 at Mountain View High School. Finishing nearly 12,000 points ahead of second place Cibola, CDO's score places them as the top seed in Arizona going into the state championship in March.
Gray, a senior, scored 9,482 points (out of a possible 10,000), which is the highest score at an official contest in the 36-year history of Arizona Academic Decathlon. Earning perfect scores in both Mathematics and Science, Gray also earned medals in Art, Economics, Literature, Music, Social Science, and Speech. Needless to say, her score was the highest in the state and the second highest in the United States this year.
Finishing at the top of their respective divisions, and also earning the top scores in the state in their divisions, were Carter Hollings and Zach Hobby. Finishing second in their respective divisions were Kailee Savage, Isabell Gray, and Javier Lopez. Finishing third in their respective divisions were Allienna Nezelek and Michael Cox. Jessica Sheldon also finished fifth in her division.
In addition to numerous medals, the students on the team also earned 4-year scholarships to the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University.
The team will be working hard in the next month as they attempt to win a record fifth consecutive state championship. The Arizona Academic Decathlon will hold the state competition March 9-10, 2018 at Arizona State University West in Glendale.
About the Academic Decathlon:
In the Academic Decathlon, students match their intellects with students from other schools. They compete in ten categories, including written tests in Art, Economics, Literature, Math, Music, Science, and Social Science. They also write an essay on a curriculum-related topic, deliver both a prepared and impromptu speech, and are interviewed by a panel of judges. The 2017-18 curricular theme is "Africa," meaning the students studied African history and economic development, the biology of infectious diseases, and also the artistic, literary, and musical influences of the region. During the course of a competition, students will answer more than 350 questions on these topics. Each team is comprised of nine students: three "A" or Honor students, three "B" or Scholastic students, and three "C" or Varsity students.