AcDec secures sixth place finish at state

By Henriikka Niemi
Staff Writer

On the morning of Feb. 20 during second period, the competing members of the Coppell High School Academic Decathlon team were sent off to the state competition by crowds of cheering students.

Photo by Sandy Iyer

Senior Blake Simon prepared for the AcDec state competition during fourth period. Photo by Sandy Iyer

After placing second at the regional meet in January and earning a ranking of ninth at state, the AcDec team began preparations for the state competition held from Feb. 21-23 in San Antonio, eventually placing sixth overall.

At the state competition, three students from each division compete in the categories of math, art, literature, science, social science, economics, music, interview, speech and essay writing. CHS Seniors Blake Simon, Cejay Zhu and George Tang, who swept the top three spots at regionals, competed in the Honors division. Individually, Simon placed fifth and Zhu placed sixth out of all the Honors students represented.

“To see all of the intelligent, talented people in San Antonio at the competition and know that our team placed sixth in the state is a very high honor,” Simon said. “As for myself, I was excited to see my hard work in preparing for AcDec finally pay off. I am very proud of the dedication our team put in to succeed.”

In addition, juniors Michael Hall, Brian Kim and senior Avery McAnelly competed in the Scholastic division, and sophomore Sashwath Murthy and junior Grant Lewellen in the Varsity division. Scores from the top two individuals were added to calculate the team’s score.

Divisions reflect the grades students make, with A students in Honors, B students in Scholastic and C students in Varsity. This ensures that students are fairly matched up with like minded individuals from other schools.

“Doing well depends on how the team gels and if they get motivated to compete and want to defeat other schools,” AcDec coach Tim Dixon said. “Recruiting helps because you have to get the right kids in the right place. It’s difficult to recruit the different talent pools because there are kids who make A’s, A’s and B’s, and B’s and C’s and you just hope to get the right combination.”

The team finished 11 spots above last year in the  “Large School” division. The theme for this year’s competitions was World War I.

Several CHS AcDec students earned individual recognition at the state competition.

Blake Simon: 1st History, 2nd Economics, 4th Music, 4th Science

Cejay Zhu: 1st Literature, 2nd Essay, 4th Music, 4th Science, 4th Economics

George Tang: 2nd Economics, 4th Music, 4th Science

Michael Hall: 6th Literature, 4th Science, 6th math, 5th Economics

Brian Kim: 7th Economics

Shashwath Murthy: 6th Science, 5th Interview

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