Tracy High's academic decathlon dominance
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Feb 15, 2013 | 2238 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tracy High School’s academic decathlon team struck gold for the third year in a row, earning the title of county champion Feb. 6.

Twenty-three Tracy High students competed in San Joaquin County’s 32nd annual Academic Decathlon against 13 other schools in the county on Jan. 23 and Feb. 2, a performance lauded by coach Terri Sorgent.

“They did very well,” Sorgent said Wednesday, Feb. 13. “We had No. 1 spots in each of the three divisions — honors, scholastic and varsity.”

The contest consisted of an essay, interview and speech competition on the first day, followed by tests in art, economics, language/literature, math, music, social science and a written Super Quiz the following Saturday.

The winning students from Tracy High team were juniors Yuvraj “Robby” Grewal and Miguel Rivera and seniors Jonathan Wong, Ghonchen Azadeh, Joshua Gomez Zavala, Nicholas Vaishampayan, Ismail Abbas, Geraldo Michel and Jai Miles.

Fourteen alternates, all of whom received team medals, competed in all the areas except for speech and interview.

The Tracy High team began training for the decathlon in February 2012, Sorgent said, but it wasn’t until March that they learned this year’s theme was Russia.

“It was tough,” she said. “We had a lot of difficulty with the (Russian) names.”

The students focused their studies on history, read “Doctor Zhivago” and various short stories and poems, and learned about artists and composers from that country.

But team members had to wait until a Feb. 6 ceremony at Stockton’s Scottish Rite Auditorium to learn they had won for the third year in a row.

The Tracy team walked away with second place in the Super Quiz and the Dave Sorgent Winner’s Cup — a special honor, as the cup was named for the coach’s husband. She said he coached a team at Stagg High School in Stockton for 10 years, and the team won the overall competition all 10 years.

Additional honors this year also went to Tracy High students: Grewal as the overall top scoring student, and Vaishampayan and Miles for overall student in their divisions.

Students from West High School also competed in the competition this year, though the team did not place in the competition, two students, Calvin Ly and Lenna Huynh took home $500 scholarships from the University of the Pacific.

The next step for the Tracy High team is the state competition in Sacramento from March 14 to 17.

Sorgent said each team member, aware of the stiff competition ahead, has decided to specialize in a particular subject to try to achieve an individual medal.

“We are very excited to go; it’s an honor,” she said. “The kids enjoy meeting other kids from all over the state doing the same thing they are.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
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