Saugus High advances to state academic decathlon

Signal file photo.

The Saugus High School academic decathlon team will advance to the state competition after placing in the top 10 in the county competition.

Saugus High placed 10th in the Division 1 series out of 33 schools, allowing the team to advance to the state competition set to begin in March.

“I was dancing in my chair when we placed,” said academic decathlon coach and English teacher Jodi Guerrero. “The students were so thrilled. It was a lot more than just a competition; they’ve mentored each other and have improved so much in their academic performance.”

The decathlon took place virtually on Zoom over a three-week period, with competitions happening each Saturday. The team earned more than 38,000 points across the 10 events.

“Studying and being a part of the team have really helped solidify my after-school life, and it ended up becoming a big part of my life in general,” said David Kayne, Saugus High senior and team captain of the decathlon.

Guerrero said the students have been preparing for the competition since last March, and will be balancing competing in the state decathlon while also getting started on the next county competition, which will take place next January.

“The next step after state would be national,” Guerrero said. “Of course, we wanted to advance to the state level, and we’re grateful to do so. It’s been a collaborative effort for the students, and they’ve been building up the team to do great in these competitions.”

Saugus High was one of four Santa Clarita Valley High Schools to compete, and the only one to advance to the state competition. West Ranch placed 12th in Division 1; Canyon High placed 10th in Division 2; and Golden Valley placed third in Division 3.

“I didn’t really know what to expect before joining the team,” said Kelly Zarate, senior at Saugus High and member of the decathlon team, “but the bond I have made with my peers is part of what makes academic decathlon so great.”

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