The academic decathlon team at St. Monica High School in Santa Monica captured its third consecutive division championship Feb. 4.

Mariner team members secured 64 individual medals at the competition, including individual first-place and third-place Division 2 overall medals for two of the academic decathletes.

The academic decathlon program resurfaced in 2009 after several years of inactivity at the school. Coach Jeremy Nelson began the process of encouraging students to join the 2009-10 decathlon team despite their disadvantage due to inexperience.

Students and teachers met in the early morning hours before school to train and prepare for competition. The Mariner team began in 2010 in the lowest division, but quickly worked up the ranks.

Last year, after securing their second division championship, the Mariners advanced another level and this year competed in Division 2 with several well-established teams. The team not only took home the first-place division win, but they also won third place overall at the competition.

The team has advanced to Division 1 for next year’s competition where they will compete with some schools with a long history of academic decathlon success, coaches said.

The three-peat champions were honored during an assembly at St. Monica High Feb. 7.

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