2020 Alaska Academic Decathlon at Kayhi

Ketchikan High School students, from left, Sandra Johnston, Sarah Short, Evelyn Nutt, Campbell Sande, Franchezca Mae Correa, Matthew Nutt, and Jacob Pattinson celebrate during the awards ceremony in the 2020 Alaska Academic Decathlon Saturday afternoon at Kayhi. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

During Saturday’s regional tournament, the Ketchikan High School Academic Decathlon team not only won first place in the final event, but claimed five out of the top 10 scores.

 The team of 12 Kayhi academic decathletes hosted Craig High School and Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday and Saturday for the last meet before the state tournament next month, according to information from team coach Peter Stanton.

 The tournament was built around the theme “in sickness and in health,” and included questions in categories such as social science, math, art, music, science, economics and literature. Participants were required to write essays, conduct interviews, compose and deliver speeches, and answer questions both as a team and solo.

 The final event of the tournament, the “SuperQuiz,” took place early on Saturday afternoon. The event was open to the public, and a few supportive students and community members braved the snowy conditions to crowd into the Kayhi library for the competition. When Stanton announced that the quiz was beginning, all three teams settled at a long table in front of a projector. Questions with multiple-choice answers were displayed on the screen.

Stanton introduced Kayhi Principal Jason House as the “master of ceremonies.” In this role, House read the questions and possible answers aloud for the students. Stanton set a timer for 10 seconds, and the library was filled with hushed conversation as students decided on the right answer.

After Stanton announced that time was up, House read the correct answer and waited for the teams to reveal if they had guessed correctly.

The SuperQuiz lasted for almost one hour, and consisted of over 35 questions broken into three rounds.

After the event ended, Stanton announced that Kayhi had won first place for the event, answering over half of the questions correctly. Juneau-Douglas came in second place, with Craig taking third.

Stanton also revealed how the decathletes had fared in the tournament’s other events —Kayhi students Campbell Sande, Franchezca Correa, Evelyn Nutt, Matthew Nutt and Sarah Short claimed five out of the top 10 scores for the meet.

Juneau-Douglas students Alex Eagan, Claire Scott and Chris Degener, and Craig competitors Wayne Brookshire and Wyeth Sheets, also earned scores in the top 10.

After the SuperQuiz ended the tournament, the Daily News spoke with several members of the Kayhi team about their experiences.

Kayhi freshman Ian Eldridge estimates that he is strongest in the literature events, adding that he claimed fourth in that category against Craig and Juneau.

“SuperQuiz is always fun,” Eldridge said about Saturday’s tournament.

Like Eldridge, Sandra Johnston also joined the team this year. Johnston was encouraged to join the team by her friends.

She said she most enjoyed the speech events because “it gets you out there and gets you speaking in front of people that you might not know.”

Johnston placed fifth in the interview event.

Matthew Nutt was also inspired to join the team by his classmates two years ago — namely his sister, Evelyn Nutt, who also has been on the team for two years.

Matthew Nutt said that he most enjoyed being able to apply what he learned from his classes at Kayhi to the events of the tournament.

Evelyn Nutt said she was inspired to join when she heard that the team had been focusing on studying lasers a few years ago. The topic interested her and she joined the team the next year.

“It was just learning things that you don’t usually learn,” she said about her decision.

About Saturday’s tournament, Evelyn Nutt said that she “really enjoyed the fact that we (Kayhi) prevailed even though we had finals at the same time as the meet.”

August Cooper, a three-year team member, also enjoyed working as a team during the tournament.

“It’s like everyone’s in it together, we all have a common goal,” Cooper said. “We all kind of become friends because of it.”

 Cooper also said that he feels like he did “well for the most part,” but will study more in the future.

Sarah Short has been on the team for two years, following in the steps of her parents, who were also decathletes in high school.

Short said she enjoyed the art and economics events because she was able to see how she has improved.

Senior Campbell Sande has been on the team since her freshman year.

“I just realized I just loved learning things I had never gotten to learn in school,” Sande said about joining.

The team of 12 Kayhi decathletes will continue on to the state tournament next month in Anchorage.