Abney, a senior at Tracy High School, also had the third-highest overall individual score and placed first among scholastic-division competitors as he and his teammates defended their title with a victory Saturday, Feb. 4, at the San Joaquin County Academic Decathlon in Stockton.
The Tracy High team took first-place honors in the Super Quiz and was named the highest-scoring overall team among the 11 high schools that competed.
The team’s veteran coach, Terri Sorgent, has led Tracy High students to six county titles over the years and said this was one of her stronger teams, taking home individual medals in all 10 events of the decathlon.
“I’m happy and very proud of the team,” Sorgent said. “They help each other; they work with each other; they work together as a team. We have a tradition of doing very well.”
Students competed in math, music, art, interview, speech, essay, science, language and literature, economics and the Super Quiz, earning individual scores and a cumulative team score.
Tracy’s nine starting team members took 23 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals among them.
Those starters, from sophomores to seniors, competed in three divisions based on GPA: honors, scholastic and varsity. Studying for the event began in May, and preparation got underway in full force in August. Team members reviewed subjects related to the theme “Age of Empire” and analyzed the Joseph Conrad novel “Heart of Darkness,” spending evenings and Saturdays prepping for the decathlon.
Senior Raj Makker, competing in the scholastic division, was proud of their effort.
“Everybody was supportive of each other. We each have subjects we are experts on, and we help each other,” he said. “Overall, the team was consistent — but we had a lot of pressure to win.”
The teamwork paid off as they pulled in 38,870 points, beating second-place Manteca High by more than 4,000 points.
“We are one of the teams to beat — but we are still all decathletes, and we recognize and cheer other students and show good sportsmanship,” said Sussy Serna, a senior. ‘This is my first year, and it was a really good experience to be on the team and see how we came together.”
The nine starters on the Tracy High Academic Decathlon team are Sarah Bai, Lucy Cui, Jonathan Wong, Abney, Makker, Yousof Osmani, Nimra Ahmed, Jai Miles and Serna.
Miles took first place overall in the varsity division, and Ahmed was second and Serna third for a sweep of the varsity level.
The team will hit the books again starting this week as they prepare for state-level competition March 15 through 18 in Sacramento.
“I think we will do fine,” Wong said. “Our hard work and our scores will reflect it.
“We all have these academic expectations of ourselves,” Ahmed added. “We’re a team, and we are confident.”