Dobie High School's powerhouse academic decathlon team captured first place in Region V competition last weekend while Pasadena High stunned event watchers with a fifth-place finish, far better than the school has ever done before.
Along with Dobie, Pasadena also qualified for the State Academic Decathlon Feb. 25-27 in El Paso.
Both coaches, the Longhorns' Steven Higginbotham and the Eagles' Tricia Anderson, participated on academic decathlon teams while students at those two schools. Higginbotham graduated from Dobie in 1995. Anderson graduated from Pasadena in 2003.
Higginbotham has coached the team for five years and each time has led Dobie to state. Anderson is in her first year as Pasadena's coach.
The Longhorns easily swept the regional competition at Clear Brook High School. In between first-place Dobie and the fifth-place Eagles were runner-up Clear Brook, third-place Pearland and fourth-place Deer Park.
South Houston claimed 10th place.
Dobie piled up 49,028 points to easily claim the title. Team members are Eddie Nunez, Mark Admani, Tad Walters, Jessica Huynh, Quinn Velasquez, Ed Gonzalez, Katey Miille, Julian Hernandez and Jeremy Morris.
Morris, a senior, won gold medals in all seven objective tests. Nunez posted the eighth-highest score ever in state history.
Pasadena earned 34,949 points. Team members are Laura Arteaga, Diana Morales, Abel Dominguez, Jose Escalera, George Gonzales, Hugo Ramirez, Eduardo Aleman and Alondra Serna.
The regional title is Dobie's second in a row. The Longhorns last won the state title in 2003. The school produced national championships in 1992 and 1996.
Dobie Academic Decathlon team members are (front) Paul Sabal and Katey Miille; (middle) Coach Steven Higginbotham, Julian Hernandez, Eddie Nunez, Mark Admani, Jessica Huynh, Jeremy Morris and Coach Todd Geries; (back) Ottmar Montes, Tad Walters, Quinn Velasquez, Ed Gonzalez and Cesar Romero.
Pasadena High's Academic Decathlon team: (front) Abel Dominguez, Alondra Serna, Laura Arteaga, Diana Morales; (back) Gilbert DeLeon, Eduardo Aleman, Jose Escalera, George Gonzales, Hugo Ramirez, Coach Tricia Anderson.
(Left) Pasadena High's Hugo Ramirez shows off the silver medal he won for math; (right) Eagles team members Abel Dominguez and Eduardo Aleman early await the awards presentation.