Southwest High School was crowned as San Diego County's Academic Decathlon Champion for the record-breaking sixth straight time Tuesday night at the 26th annual Decathlon awards ceremony at the University of San Diego.
First-year coach Oliver Chico, who replaced Ken Boulton, the most successful coach in local Decathlon history, picked up where his predecessor left off, guiding the Imperial Beach school to victory in the rigorous, all-day competition.
More than 150 students from 17 local high schools took part in the February 2 competition, which was conducted for the first time at Sweetwater High School in National City. Southwest edged Academy of Our Lady of Peace for the title, with Fallbrook High finishing third. The entire top ten was:
- Southwest High, Sweetwater Union High School District
- Academy of Our Lady of Peace, parochial
- Fallbrook, Fallbrook Union HSD
- Sweetwater, Sweetwater UHSD
- Eastlake High, Sweetwater UHSD
- St. Augustine, parochial
- Mar Vista, Sweetwater UHSD
- Scripps Ranch, San Diego Unified
- Hilltop High, Sweetwater UHSD
- Army & Navy Academy, parochial
Both County Superintendent Randy Ward and Nick Aguilar, South County's representative on the County Board of Education, attended the USD awards program and commended all the participating students and their teachers and parents. Aguilar, a vocal proponent of the Decathlon and all academic competitions, said he looked forward to the day when students excelling in academic competitions were accorded the same recognition as athletes.
Southwest will now represent San Diego County in the California Academic Decathlon Championship, to be held March 7-10, 2008 in Sacramento.