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VALLEY FOCUS | Woodland Hills

El Camino Salutes Its Academic Champs

April 29, 1998|TOM BECKER

For a few moments Tuesday afternoon, the eight members of El Camino Real's national champion Academic Decathlon team were speechless.

They sat high on a stage in the high school's courtyard, overlooking hundreds of jubilant students and teachers as cheerleaders flipped in the air and Queen's "We Are The Champions" played.

"So this is what it's like to be champions," Michael Beatty said later.

This year's squad brought home the school's first national title after 17 years of near-misses, including second-place finishes the previous two years.

"I was afraid we were going to fall into the abyss of the Minnesota Vikings or the Buffalo Bills," said Dave Roberson, one of the team's two coaches, referring to two professional football teams that have reached the Super Bowl several times without winning one.

The student body applauded politely for each guest speaker, but saved the real cheering for the team and the teachers who coached it to victory.

"We went there representing the school, representing all of you," said team member Adi Zarchi, rallying the crowd. "This is for all of us."

The crowd erupted in cheers.

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