The cheerleaders weren't out en force, and the hoopla of an athletic event was missing, but Alta High School won the decathlon - the Academic Decathlon.

The 10 events, which called for brain power, not muscle power, were fine arts (specifically arts of the period from 1850-1900), economics, science/physics, essay writing, mathematics, the U.S. presidency, English literature, speech, social science/geography and personal interviews.The winning Alta team included Ben McKee, Braden Rowley, Suzanne Payne, Bruce Walton, Chris Terry, Ron Galieti, Nathan Coulter, Tim Christensen and Matt Johnson, with Bruce Gace as alternate.

The coaches were Cheryl Hughes and Rique Ochoa.

The scholars were selected in the fall and began arriving at school at 6:15 a.m. to prepare for the competition. All are involved in extracurricular activities and have leadership roles in the school, said Linda Sandstrom, the school administrator in charge of the program. Cram sessions also were held on Saturdays and school holidays to hone the team to competition readiness.

On Nov. 30, the Alta scholars racked up a record-breaking number of points in the district competition, defeating Bingham High School, winner for the past two years. In February, they went on the state championship in St. George, outpacing a field of teams that included Park City, which had won for the two previous years.

Now the Alta team is back in "training" for the national decathlon in Providence, R.I., beginning April 28.