Clovis News: Sports

University High wins Fresno Co. Academic Decathlon

University High School won Saturday's 28th annual Fresno County Academic Decathlon -- the first time any school other than Edison High has won since 1996.

Edison finished second to University, which is the small-school national champion three years running. Edison had won the county competition 16 of the past 18 years.

Just before the competition began at the Clovis East gymnasium, University team members said they were confident as they listened to coach Sean Canfield.

University's Taylor Barry, 16, just smiled and shook her head when asked if she felt pressure. Then, she blew kisses to the feisty University High faithful as the schools walked into the gym to a deafening roar.

Edison's Harsan Sidu, 16, said, "I really love this atmosphere of intellectual competition. This is why I came here."

It had the ambience of a college basketball championship game. The competitors were led into the gymnasium by a costumed Marie Antoinette -- true to the theme of the French Revolution.

It also was the first time the competition featured a continuation school, Cambridge High, which finished sixth in the nine-team Division IV bracket and 24th out of 27 overall. It was the second time the Super Quiz had been held at a loud, packed Clovis East gym.

But the competitive atmosphere did not rattle these youngsters.

Adam Hendey, 15, a University High student and spectator, brought a bagpipe to greet his team.

"My family is actually Scottish," he said. "I just thought it would be cool."

Fresno County schools participated in the speech, interview and essay competitions -- which were part of the decathlon -- at California State University, Fresno.

Madera, Kings and Tulare counties also held Academic Decathlons on Saturday. Each county's overall winning team will have a chance to compete in the state decathlon in mid-March in Sacramento.

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