El Camino coaches estimate the team logged more than 1,200 hours of organized study to prepare for the grueling, two-day series of tests covering topics from music theory to economics. El Camino entered the competition ranked No. 1 out of 41 teams, having earned the highest score in any statewide contest.
With a smile, [Melinda Owen] conceded that it might have had something to do with the team's matching black satin jackets. According to Owen, the El Camino team began working on the decathlon last summer, putting in three seven-hour study sessions per week.
El Camino assistant coach Christian Cerone said it's hard for some outsiders to understand the culture in California's most decathlon-crazy schools. At El Camino, joining "Deca" doesn't carry the stigma of geekdom. And the kids tend to push themselves without much prodding.