What started as a student competition became a battle between lawyers last year. Lubbock High School was in the middle of a controversy steaming from an alleged miscount in the academic decathlon state finals. Lubbock High and Dobie High School battled it out in court over who won the state championship. After many weeks, Lubbock High was ruled the official state champion last year. On Saturday, area high schools compete once again at the Regional Academic Decathlon.
Imagine taking finals for 10 classes in just two days. Sounds tough, but that's exactly what local high schools students are doing this weekend. For months, area high schools students have spent almost every waking moment getting ready for this day. On Saturday at Coronado High School, more than 100 of the best and brightest students from around West Texas went head to head in the regional academic decathlon. NewsChannel 11 spent some time on Saturday with the defending champs, the Lubbock High Westerners, during their lunch break, and they tell us that months of preparation come down to this one day of competition.
After spending this Saturday morning taking test after mind bending test, it's break-time for decathletes. It's time to rest and refuel, but not for nine Lubbock High School students, and after months of studying they now have an hour to eat lunch and cram as much information as they can into their brains before their next test.
"Overall, they're very dedicated to what they're doing, and that's the best we can ask for is the dedication," says Lubbock High coach Neoka Perez.
And coach Perez says that dedication is something these students can't learn from any book.
"The kids all have mounds of materials. I mean they have stacks of materials they lug around," says Perez.
Lubbock High has won the last six out of seven regional academic decathlons. That near perfect record has some students feeling the pressure.
"Because our team did so well last year those who weren't on the team last year feel like we have to live up to that standard," says Lubbock High team member, Mirah Curzer.
But winning isn't everything. Senior decathlete Patricia Peter is hoping the skills she learns from competitions like academic decathlons will help her when she attends Columbia University next year.
"The most practical use of decathlon is we have so much information we have to learn in terms of academic subjects, and that's gonna help me in college when I have to study," says Peter.
"Many students on a decathlon team go into college, and it's a breeze for them because they've tackled so much as a 17 year-old, and it's not that big of a deal," says Perez.
The competition wrapped up around 4:00 on Saturday. The winner will move on to state competitions in Garland, Texas.