Los Angeles, CA — One message you hear, when calling Crenshaw High School is ” . . . remember, Crenshaw is the best kept secret.”

Well Thursday the cat came out of the bag, because this urban high school recently made a big splash that is garnering lots of attention.

The Cougars collected a third place finish in the Los Angeles Unified School District Academic Decathlon Super Quiz Relay and finished seventh overall, and are now on their way to compete in the state championships of the event.

The team, coached by Jeff Goldberg, (who has only been at the helm for three years), fielded a squad on which only two of its nine members have consecutive years of experience, placed higher than any local area school has done in the overall contest, and all they wanted to do was simply beat out all the other schools in the area and best the 2008 Crenshaw Academic team, stated Goldberg.

“I’m relieved,” said Goldberg a few days after their finish. “We’ve been working since last spring, and we achieved what we wanted to achieve–to go to state; and to beat out all the other schools in the area. We got L.A. by 3,000 points.”

They also topped the 2008 squad, which came in ninth place and was voted the most improved team last year. That group catapulted from the 54th spot in 2007 into a top 10 finish.

The Crenshaw coach attributes his team’s continued improvement to the perseverance of team members. “They were willing to come out and spend hours. We got them hooked on the dream.
They also saw how well the team did last year . . . and felt they could do a better job. I got the majority of them committed to working in the summer.”

What really made the 10- and 11-hour long study days pay off and set the stage for the Cougars, believes Goldberg, was their performances against the competition’s perennial top teams–Palisades and El Camino high schools–during fall scrimmages.

“We were really close to them, and beat them in several subjects,” added Goldberg, also noting that the showing served notice to a whole lot of people, including their opponents.

In addition to an outstanding team effort, a number of individual members collected top honors.
Brenda Guzman, a senior, took the top spot in the literature category on the way to collecting a total of six medals. She just squeaked past her teammate Leandro Ty, a junior, who collected five medals including one gold.

Crenshaw was one of 64 schools competing over the course of two weekends, and now they will move on to the state competition slated for March 13-16 in Sacramento.

The team members are: Shaqeal Alkebulan, Eric Aparicio, Jesus Carreon, Brenda Guzman, Mayra Lopez, Michael Orozco, Maria Perez, Maira Quintanilla and Leandro Ty.

Other area schools that made a good showing include: Los Angeles High School, which finished 10th and is one of eight wild card teams that will go on to the state finals; Manual Arts, Hamilton, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies and Dorsey, who all placed in the top 27.