Canyon del Oro High School’s academic decathlon team has done it again.
The team won the state championship for the fourth year in a row and brought home 25 medals this past weekend. The second-place team, Hamilton High School from Chandler, was nearly 2,000 points behind.
“We were lucky enough to have a good group of kids,” said Chris Yetman, the CDO team’s coach.
Two students who were especially committed led the team to a strong win, he said. Piper Gray, a junior, placed second overall in the honors category, and Brady Lybarger, 18, placed first in the scholastic category, nearly 1,000 points ahead of the runner-up.
Those students set a new standard for the whole team, Yetman said. At the end of the competition, the kids had so many medals that they were “clanking,” he added.
CDO is on its way to breaking the state winning-streak record, which is five state championship wins in a row, won by Mesa’s Mountain View High School.
To prepare, Yetman said he and his students did what they normally do: “We worked really, really, really hard.”
For the past two months leading up to state championship, the CDO team trained for two hours every day after school, he said. That’s not including the hours students spent on their own studying and practicing.
The team will represent Arizona in a national-level competition in Madison, Wisconsin, next month. Last year, the CDO team placed ninth in the nation, but Yetman said he has higher hopes for this year.
“Our resolve is to finish in the top three in the nation so we get a special banner,” he said.
And to do that, “We’re going to do the same thing we have been doing. We’re going to prepare,” he said.