University High School takes home top honor in Fresno County's Academic Decathlon

FRESNO, Calif.

One school not only stripped its biggest rival of last year's crown, it also surpassed its own goals.

"It's really a life changing experience," said University High School senior, Timothy Anderson.

Sporting their medals like a group of proud Olympic athletes, Anderson and his fellow student scholars on the University High School Academic Decathlon team, boasted this weekend's win was well-deserved.

"We don't have football, we don't have sports here so Academic Decathlon is the one thing everyone goes too, everyone from the school is cheering us on," said senior Tiffany Cao.

On Saturday, the team of nine competitors took home 57 medals, the most of any other school in the county competition. It also won the "Super Quiz" portion of the contest, which is a mix of a written test and answering questions in front of an audience. In addition, the team had the top three scorers of the tournament, one of them earning more than 9,000 points, the highest score ever in the competition's history.

"I set that goal last summer and had to work really hard. That's how I kept motivated, is looking at that goal. And I guess it worked out," said Anderson.

But students say the best part of the match was taking back the title from Edison High, after ending the school's 13 year winning streak two years ago.

"That's part of what helped us win, we work really well as a team," said Anderson.

The team has a lot of material to learn. In May, it receives a binder full of information. Students hit the books right away.

"You think of your finals in college and take that over a couple weeks and months and that's what it is," said Coach Sean Canfield.

His students agreed.

"Lots and lots of reading, over the summer you spend an upwards of 75 hours going over the material. During the school year we're in here until 5 o'clock almost every day," said Anderson.

The team isn't finished just yet. After a short break, the party's over and it's back to the books - this time studying for the California Academic Decathlon State Finals in March.

The team will join Yosemite High from Madera County, Lemoore High in Kings County and another school from Tulare County, which will be announced later tonight. The competition begins March 15th.

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