The Kayhi Academic Decathlon team won the Alaska State Championship for the first time this weekend. Kayhi is the very first team from all of southeast Alaska to win state, scoring the fourth-highest amount of points in all of Alaska’s history. Kayhi’s championship team will be going to Texas in April to participate in the USAD national competition.
Kayhi senior Largim Zhuta has participated in Academic Decathlon for three years, and said he is more than thrilled to have been apart of the team’s success.
“It is totally crazy. Our team has improved every year, and we were very hungry for this title,” said Zhuta. “When the announcer said that we won, we were jumping up and down, cheering – it was definitely special, memorable for sure. We made history, and the atmosphere felt great, there was even some crying going on – but those were definitely happy tears. I can’t even think of the words to describe it.”
Coach Peter Stanton said he is very proud of his team. He explained that Fairbanks ruled the system and no other schools had ever won until two years ago, so everyone was extremely proud when Kayhi was pronounced first this weekend.
“Nationals is going to be very tough. It’s going to be teams from lots of different states, and even some other countries that do ACDC,” said Stanton. “Some kids have broken records with almost perfect scores, so there are some extremely hard-hitting decathletes elsewhere. We’ll probably be competing in the small schools competition, so I’m not sure who our competition will be, but I think we could do really well.”
Kayhi senior and ACDC captain, Max Varela, expressed his excitement for the team and their success.
“It was fun, it was really exciting to beat Lathrop and all the other southeast teams were really excited for us too,” said Varela. “It felt important, and really big. Nationals is a lot more competitive than state, but I think we have a good base and we’ll study really hard, and hopefully take home a trophy.”