Led by gold medal winner Bradley Skubic and three-time medalist Ben Koos, the Casa Grande High School Academic Decathlon team more than held its own with the best in California at the state championships held last weekend in Sacramento.
Casa Grande finished 19th out of 65 teams in the state, including the best from Southern California where many schools prepare for state competition year round.
Teams are comprised of students from three academic levels — varsity (2.99 grade point average and below), scholastic (3.0 to 3.74 GPA) and honors (3.75 to 4.0 GPA).
Members of Casa Grande's team were Elijah Gerber-Kai, Cody Johnson, Junyoung Park, Skubic, Koos, Sierra Downey, Brian On, Shibani Dighe and Mary Miguel.
Skubic won his gold medal in science.
Koos scored 8,166 points, the most on the team, taking silver medals in science and art and a bronze medal in economics.
"It was a wonderful weekend," said coach Donna Reed. "We were competing against some of the strongest teams in the nation.
"It was incredible how they bonded together and became a team. It was fabulous to watch their growth as individuals and a team. They came a long way. I watched them completely blossom as competitors and individuals."
This was the 28th consecutive year that a Casa Grande team has competed at the state level and follows a sweep of the regional competition in February.
Casa Grande won 65 individual medals and the team championship in regional competition, with Koos winning the gold medal in the Scholastic Division, Park the gold in the varsity division and Miguel the silver medal in the varsity division.
The only cloud from the bright weekend in Sacramento is that the Casa team still needs funds to help cover the costs associated with the trip.
Reed explains that the program is run entirely on donations and that a bare bones budget runs more than $6,000.
Persons interested in helping may make donations to Casa Grande High School, 333 Casa Grande Road, Petaluma, Calif. 94954; Attention: Academic Decathlon.