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Del Norte High School Clinches 2023 Academic League Championship

Del Norte High School Clinches 2023 Academic League Championship
Del Norte High School's Academic League team in the iTV studio for the 2023 competition.


This competitive high school league requires hours of practice, agility, speed, and most of all, teamwork. You might be thinking of football, basketball, or water polo. 

But it’s not your typical high school sport — Academic League is a lightning-fast, team version of Jeopardy.

And on May 2 at the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) iTV Channel 16 studio, Del Norte High School in the Poway Unified School District became the 2023 countywide champion. Del Norte defeated Olympian High School in Sweetwater Union High School District in the final round 580 to 105.

Answering dozens of questions spanning current and historical events, science, math, the arts, and literature, the Del Norte team overcame their nerves and two other teams to clinch the title. 

“These kids are pretty self motivated. They put in the work to study on their own,” said Del Norte Coach Tom Swanson. “It’s really neat to see their knowledge grow and confidence grow. Especially when they’re freshmen and they’re finding their voice, and when they’re seniors they’ve found it pretty clear.”

The championship round and two semifinal matches were played in the iTV studios at the SDCOE Linda Vista campus where the competition was recorded for broadcast on iTV cable channel 16/99. This is the first time the students have competed in Academic League finals since 2020. See and share team photos from the event on SDCOE's Facebook page.

You can watch the two semifinal rounds and championship match on SDCOE's iTV Cable Channel 16 on May 3 starting at 5 p.m. and test your own skills on current and historical events, science, math, the arts, and literature. The recordings will be available on SDCOE’s YouTube channel following the cable broadcast.

When asked about the match after the first semifinal round Olympian Team Captain Martin Costa remarked on the unfamiliar setup. 

“It was different than we’re used to,” the 11th-grader shared. Not only were the students on a set surrounded by professional cameras and lights, but the selected questions were shorter for a more fast-paced match. Regular season matches are generally held in a school library or classroom and questions are lengthier. 

“It was more intense than usual,” agreed another Olympian team member and 11th-grader Dylan Yamzon.

The Academic League competition includes questions similar to Jeopardy in a Family Feud-style team challenge. The high school students have to work together, trust each other, and act quickly to earn points. They need to be mentally tough and agile to respond to the lightning-fast speed of the questions.

The other teams to make it to the semifinals were The Bishop's School and West Hills High School. The four schools represent the four regions of the county in the Academic League. All had prepared with months of practices, scrimmages, and studying dozens of topics.

In the first semifinal match, Olympian High defeated The Bishop’s School with a final score of 375 to 155. The second semifinal matched up Del Norte High School and West Hills High School in the Grossmont Union High School District. The final score was 625 to 80. The winners — Del Norte and Olympian —  moved on to the final round. 

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