High school first in state at Academic Decathlon
Last weekend Park City High School’s Academic Decathlon Team proved that it is, once again, best in the state.
Coach John Krenkel said this is their twelfth or thirteenth time earning the title.
"I’m very pleased. We went there expecting to win, we’ve remained a really good team," he said.
While their win at Dixie State College wasn’t unexpected, they did accomplish something new this year. Awards are given to the three highest scoring students at the competition, and the Park City team walked away with all of them.
"I suppose especially to win all three top scholar trophies was unique," Krenkel said.
Senior Derek Painter came in first, followed by classmates Tyler Anderson and Yasmeen Hussain.
The team also brought home both trophies for performing well at the Super Quiz, which tests students written and oral skills.
Out of a possible 90 medals, the team won 59 including all nine in both economics and the Super Quiz.
At the competition students were tested in 10 areas including interview, speech, language and literature, essay, mathematics, science, art, social science, music and the Super Quiz. Many of the questions were related to the European Renaissance, as it was this year’s theme.
With the help of Krenkel and their other coaches, Charlie and Heidi Matthews, the team was able to score big. Out of a possible 60,000 points, Park City High School scored 41,060. Krenkel said this score beat the other state teams by 6,000 points and is nearing the national high of 49,000.
Krenkel also mentioned the tests are quite difficult.
"This is not a jeopardy, trivia type of contest. The students have over 2,000 pages of study materials they have to study over the year," he said.
Junior Nicole Rosecrans said the amount of work can be "emotionally taxing" but joked about the amount of work she’s had to do.
"I secretly enjoy reading hours of tiny text on Renaissance history," she said.
One thing she likes most about being part of the Academic Decathlon team are the people she has met.
Shane Marcus, a senior, said he has met a lot of friendly people at the national competitions and has made some his best friends through the team.
Senior Sam Mollner said everyone had the chance to bond during the state competition.
"We stayed outside of St. George on the edge of Zion," he said Krenkel booked hotel accommodations for them in that area so they would be free from distractions.
He credits their success to hard work, while Nicole credits some of it to the community.
"I think it’s because of the demographic of Park City," she said. "We tend to be more articulate because we’re used to talking to adults."
After taking first in state the team has started to focus on the national competition that will be held in San Antonio, Texas during the last week of April.
The team that wins at nationals is awarded a gold banner.
"We want one of those gold banners," said Krenkel.
He would like the team to improve on its performance in past years. In 2005 they were tenth in the nation and came in third in their division.
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Daniel Lewis, an Old Town resident who unsuccessfully sought a spot on the Park City Council in 2019, said this week he will mount another campaign this year.