El Camino Charter High School students celebrate their individual and team awards at the state Academic Decathlon competition in Sacramento.

As if to prove winning the LAUSD Academic Decathlon Champion was not a fluke or accident, El Camino Real Charter High School has won the 2018 state competition as well.

And ECR again unseated defending state champion Granada Hills Charter High School, — as it did in the regional event — and also bested another 67 other schools during the March 22-25 competition held in Sacramento.

The Conquistadors totaled 61,612.40 out of a possible 65,580 points to claim their 11th state title, and first since 2014. Granada Hills totaled 60,949.20 points to finish second.

The final results were announced in Sacramento on March 25.

ECR will represent California at the 36th Annual United States Academic Decathlon Competition, scheduled April 19-22, in Frisco, TX. The eight-member team — comprised of Inesh Ahuja, Matthew Fitzmorris, Briana Lincoln, Rachel Markenson, Nolan Origer, Avery Tamura, Maya Teitz and Trevor Winnard — will try to win an eighth national championship. The last one also came in 2014.

“The thing about this team: they are focused on achieving excellence, they are unified in that goal, and they genuinely care for each other,” ECR Coach Stephanie Franklin said after the team’s triumphant return to the Valley on Monday, March 26.

Granada Hills, the reigning national champion, will compete in the national online competition in the large school category, also held in April.

Other top five finishers included South Pasadena High School with 59,007.10 points; Franklin High School of Los Angeles with 57,737.40 points; and Mark Keppel High School of Alhambra was fifth with 55,410.90 points.

Finishing in the top 10 were LAUSD schools Garfield High of Los Angeles, in seventh, and Bell High of Los Angeles, in 10th.

A total of 600 students took part in 10-quiz competitions involving speech, interviews, essay, art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, social science plus the Super Quiz. The study topic was Africa.

What separated El Camino Real from everybody else was how strong the level of performance was by the individual team members of in competition categories. Teitz and Markenson finished first and third overall in the honors category. Fitzmorris and Tamura were first and second overall in scholastic category. And Winnard placed first overall in varsity category. 

 Teitz’ set a record for highest scoring decathlete with a score of 9,652 points. 

When asked if this Conquistadors team was being pushed to their level of excellence by Granada Hills, Franklin said no.

“My team does not focus on Granada, because we cannot control Granada,” Franklin said. “We focus on improving improving our objective scores from the regional competition. We did not want any team to catch up to us.”

She also pointed to the amount of preparation the team did during the summer months, scrimmaging other teams from the Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which did much to develop and sharpen ECR’s approach to the event.

Quite a few of those teams from the summer practices appeared at the state competition, Franklin said.

El Camino Real’s score was of 55,942.4 after 10 events, the highest team score ever recorded in California, according to ECR officials.

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