South Mountain won the Region II Academic Decathlon, beating rival Cesar Chavez after finishing second to its neighbor school each of the last two years. Led by high scorer Connor Wade, who led all competitors with 8,173 points, and seven individual medals, South amassed 38,650 points to Chavez’ 37,068. The Jags also had Anto George (bronze-Honors); Benjamin Webb, (gold-Varsity) and Markaya Hill, (bronze-Varsity) medal as top overall scorers in the 28-team regional. Webb earned eight individual medals, including gold in Speech, Economics, Music, Language & Literature, and Super Quiz. Hill shared the event’s Outstanding Interview Trophy with three other competitors with a 1,000, and Helena Moore not only won a gold medal in Speech, but her perfect score of 1000 earned her a share of the Outstanding Speech Trophy. Other team members are Vivian Ontiveros, Sergio Avila, Lea Rodela and Marissa Sandoval.
Coach Todd Decker has taken the South Academic Decathlon team to the State Championship for the 21st time in 22 years. The team has the 6th best qualifying score going into the state event, which will be held at Mesa Red Mountain High School, March 9-10. Wade, a junior, comes into the State Decathlon with the third-best score among individuals in Arizona. 725 students competed in four regions across the state.
It is the second time the Jaguars won the Regional, and first since 2007-2008. They had finished second four times since 2006-2007. Academic Decathlon is made up of 10 events. Team members are classified according to grade point average into three divisions: Honors, Scholastic and Varsity. Three students compete in each division.