UHS Academic Decathlon Makes State Competition for 2nd year in a Row


University High School, for the second year in a row, places fifth in the online Orange County Regionals competition.

Tracy Le, Staff Writer

The UHS Academic Decathlon team is returning to compete at the state level for the second year in a row after placing fifth in the online Orange County Regionals competition.

This year’s decathlon focused on the topic: “Water: A Most Essential Resource.” The main UHS Academic Decathlon team included Sophia Wang, Keyon Jazayeri, Ashley Yang, Vansh Goel, Dylan Nguyen, Kerry Zhang, Melanie Taba and Donya Sharafkhanian.

Teammates reflected on their experience at the competition, including first-time Academic Decathlon participant junior Melanie Taba. 

“Competing at the county level as a first-year Academic Decathlon student was very daunting, yet exciting,” Taba said. “I hadn’t done anything like Academic Decathlon before so it was quite thrilling, but I didn’t know what to expect competing with other Orange County schools, though all [my] reading in the end was worth it [since] we made it to state.”

Despite this success, there were still times during the competition that the team felt held back because of insufficient preparation. 

“The interview and speech part was the most challenging since we didn’t do as much practice as we would have hoped,” sophomore Kerry Zhang said.

Senior captain Sophia Wang was nevertheless impressed with the team’s perseverance. 

“Even though this year we struggled with recruiting varsity members, we still did our best and worked really hard to qualify for state,” Wang said. “I am proud of all my teammates for just getting through another year of online competition.”

Ultimately, it was the team dynamic and sense of togetherness that made the competition very memorable. 

“I really liked the support from my mentors and I felt like it really helped me prepare for competitions like this,” Zhang said. “It was very challenging, but we endured through it and we supported each other along the way.”