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Mind gamers—Meet Boulder Creek High School’s academic decathlon contenders. Pictured from the left: (Front row) Cameron Moreno, Sean Wurr, Elias Skoubis, Nick Goettl, Josh Kim, (back row) Grant Peterson, Chris Balzer, Nate Raffield and Christian Beem.
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BCHS team set for nationals

Eric Quade ~ Editor~ 4/9/2014

Honor students based out of Anthem are poised to make waves later this month in the Pacific Ocean state of Hawaii with their combined academic prowess, but their coach said that the team will need the community's help to make it happen.
Boulder Creek High School's academic decathlon team, in layman's terms, takes multi-subject tests for fun. Topic areas covered include science, social studies, math, art, music and more, but the questions these students are quizzed on all generally follow a theme. This year, the questions at the nationals competition held April 23-27 in Honolulu will all revolve around World War I (except, perhaps, for the math questions), while last year's multiple choice questions had a Russian theme.
Boulder Creek's team has broken a number of school records this year for their program—now in its 11th year. The first record crumbled when they became regional champions back in early February—a distinction no other Boulder Creek team had attained. Then came the local team’s victory at the state level, coming in second out of 40 teams and earning the right to go on to nationals.
Elizabeth Erickson, coach of Boulder Creek’s academic decathlon team, said that the school’s previous best showing at state was 10th place, and this year they were only beat out by one question by 13-time state champions Canyon Del Oro.
“We have the best chance of winning the Rookie of the Year Award at nationals, and the team is diligently studying, as they want to be in the top 10 of the nation,” Erickson said. “We are currently No. 8 in the nation.”
Money, though, will be a big factor in whether Boulder Creek’s team can retain or improve upon that standing. Getting a team of nine students and two coaches to Hawaii is expected to cost more than $15,000. Deer Valley Unified School District is not contributing toward the trip financially, but the United States Academic Decathlon is funding Boulder Creek’s team to the tune of $4,500.
Fundraising has to pick up the rest of the slack. In hopes of doing just that, the local team is soliciting for Arizona tax credit donations, asking the public to contribute online via indiegogo.com and working with local businesses to generate the cash. For example, by mentioning on April 17 that they are participating in the BC Aca Deca fundraiser, patrons at Peter Piper Pizza on Carefree Highway will have 15 percent of their bill donated toward the cause.