A small school in a Utah tourist town has produced the state's most recent national championship.
Nine scholars from Park City High School competed in the National Academic Decathlon in Los Angeles last weekend and brought home the trophy as the most academically able among the country's small schools that competed.Eighteen small schools were in the national contest, said Linda Preston, one of the Park City coaches. She and John Mark Krenkel spent hundreds of hours preparing their team, which consisted of Ryan McDaniel, David Guelich, Jenny Polson, Brian Anderson, Dana Gress, Greg Hanscom, Aaron Schapper, Pat Sprowls and David Rich.
Gress also won a silver medal in the essay category of the "top brain" competition, and Park City came in 18th overall among 45 schools in both large and small categories. The Utah contingent also was fifth in the Super Quiz competition, which concentrated this year on space.
"Small" was defined in the national contest as a school with up to 750 students. Park City has 480.
"Your success is a result of and a reflection of our community values," Preston told the winners during an assembly in their honor Wednesday.
Park City Superintendent Nancy Moore also congratulated the team.
"When I got the phone call saying you had won, I was just so excited," she said. "I applaud your success. You represented your school and our community in a statement of excellence."
Academic Decathlon scholars compete in 10 categories - literature, mathematics, science, economics, social studies, speech, essay, interviews, fine arts and Super Quiz.
To "even the odds," each school has to bring together a team with three A students, three B and three C, said Preston.
The Park City team has been at or near the top of the heap in state competitions for several years, competing against all comers, including the state's largest schools. This is the first time a small school division has been created at the national level, she said, making Park City the first winner in the new category.