Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii won the state Academic Decathlon on Feb. 22, with Hilo High finishing second and Kamehameha Schools-Maui placing third.
The two Big Island schools now advance to the national competition, set for April 24-26 on Oahu.
The scores, respectively, in the scholastic contest were 38,647, 38,392 and 22,941.
The next day, Hilo High edged out KS-Hawaii 23-22 in the three-person team battle for this year’s SuperQuiz Championship title. At the awards banquet and ceremony, Hawaii County Teacher of the Year Beth Timbal from Keaau High School presented medals and trophies to the winners, along with Les Martisko, CEO of the United States Academic Decathlon.
Several Hilo teams participated at the national level during the past several years, including Hilo High, led by veteran coach Charlene Masuhara, and KS-Hawaii, led by Masuhara’s former student and decathlete Dane Nelson. This friendly rivalry motivates students from both schools to work hard to earn their place at nationals.
“Every year, as the Hawaii State Finals approaches, I feel a combination of excitement and nervous dread,” said Nelson.
His team participated in the 2013 USAD Nationals in Minneapolis, Minn., and was greeted by several inches of snow and temperatures in the 20s. Hilo High made it to nationals in 2011, in Charlotte, N.C. The state champion has the opportunity to meet other decathletes from throughout the U.S., and even a few foreign countries.
Hilo High’s Vernon Warnock, Lopaka O’Connor, and Mark Jimenez achieved the top three individual scores, with Sage Constaninou of KS-Hawaii following closely. Honokaa High School and Kamehameha-Maui each had several students in the top 20.
For more information, visit www.usad.org.