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> The Decathlon is broken. Will they man up and fix it?, A reasonably contentious opinion.
Guest_Dr. Roffles_*
post Mar 15 2010, 09:36 PM
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Necessary disclaimer: this topic contains my opinion, and my opinion only. We've had problems with this before, so if you are a reader from USAD who was directed here by someone else, I would like to state vigorously that this is absolutely NOT the "official" opinion of Demidectalk, nor is it the opinion (I'm sure) of everyone here. It is mine. It is the opinion of a statistician who competed for three years with a terrible team and has experience with Decathlon history through research and interviews with former participants. I have tried to set up programs at schools and they have all failed. I am not speaking from a position of ignorance. That does not necessarily make me right. But it certainly is my opinion. Make of it what you will.

QUOTE (Dr. Roffles @ Mar 15 2010, 04:42 PM) *
A post 50,000 score? That's great. But... ugh. I hate to say it, I may very well refrain from doing my stat predictions this year. I lost all my datasets in the Great Computer Crash of 2009 and quite frankly, with a margin between #1 and #2 as lopsided in ECR's favor as what we've got now, the prediction model is just a luxury to put numbers to what we already know. Which makes me quite hesitant to go back and re-do all the research I did to put the datasets together in the first place. I would have lots of ways to improve the model now that I'm better at coding and statistical analysis in general, but it just seems like an exercise in vanity to put all that time in right now. Congrats to ECR, I suppose. It's a great accomplishment, even though the lack of competition gets a bit annoying after a while.


I said I'd make a topic to clarify what I meant in the Cali topic. So, here it is.

To begin, I don't mean to detract from the accomplishment of ECR's brilliant team. I honestly don't, they did a fantastic job. However, on a personal level, the fact that there's barely any real competition to be had at nationals year in and year out gets rather old as an analyst. And by rather old, I mean extremely old. Given the amount of time I'd have to spend to repopulate the data set, I don't know if it's really worth it. Actually, no. I do know. It isn't worth it. Again -- ECR did a great job. They're clearly the class of the nation barring a ridiculous output from Whitney Young. Let's not ignore that. But the fact that there's always such a gap between #1 and #2 makes nationals prognostication anticlimactic and, frankly, boring. Year in and year out. I don't see this as Cali's fault (as I know some people do) so much as it is the competition in general. This is less an indictment of ECR or the Cali system and more an indictment of the rest of the nation, and to a further extent the USAD structure in general.

To expand: USAD takes a very closed approach to the competition. In my experience, there are several usual truths to the USAD organization. Not universal, but close. They do not reach out to schools. Absolutely avoid that. They do not make more than token efforts to bring their program to new locales, or (more damningly) even to improve its quality in the old locales. They feel it is perfectly alright to push responsibility for the program to the schools and school districts themselves. They feel furthermore that it is the responsibility of the state arms of the USAD organization to fund their participants and keep the program afloat. They feel that the Decathlon is not something they actually need to actively advertise, and feel that word of mouth should be sufficient. Frankly, I don't think USAD does a very good job.

There is certainly some responsibility to be had in the states themselves, or the teams across the nation themselves. It has been said that California teams just work harder, and as a capitalist and a hard-right libertarian, I have no problem accepting and believing that to be true. All that I've heard from Cali decathletes does seem to verify that their teams work significantly harder than the majority of other teams in the nation, and that the culture of competition in California is by large margin "better" than that of any other state outside of Texas. We all know that, and I as well as anyone can appreciate the value of hard work in a competition like this. When was the last time a non-Cali team had the national leading score in round three? I'll answer that. 2001. Does USAD just not see this as a problem? Does USAD seriously think that it's A-OK that, for 9 years in a row, the hardest working and best team in the nation has been from the same state? Do they care that -- frankly -- it's rarely even close?

It isn't all that much of a competition if USAD has decided that there's no reason for it to be competitive. They don't reach out to other schools. Friends and I have tried to get Decathlon going at 4 or 5 different schools, with USAD never lifting a finger to help us out. The only time we did get a bit of help -- here in Durham -- it was from the state organization, not USAD itself. I have yet to have USAD representatives respond to any requests for scores or historical data, even with an answer in the negative. How in the world does USAD actually expect to expand the competition if there honestly isn't one? You can say "oh, but teams in every state have a chance to win nationals" all you want, but that doesn't exactly change the fact that they're working against the tide in every other state. California has about 5 programs each year which all would be favorites to finish top 3 at nationals. No other state has that kind of a base. For a program to be a real contender for a title, they need to be head over heels above the rest of the programs in their state. Texas and Arizona are the only other states that have competitive bases for contention at all. And that's a huge positive for those two states, and it's a great thing. It's a wonderful thing. But it's not enough to have three competitive contending states, and then a handful of sparkling programs that rise above their states. What about getting some more states to rise up as states?

And I don't really think that's California's fault, nor do I really think that the other states are at fault. I think USAD deserves a hell of a lot of blame here. What if USAD actually made an effort to reach out to more magnet schools, and applied some pressure and threw some funding at REAL outreach, where they'd send people in to try and help struggling teams out? What if they tried to deal with the curriculum problems and the massive testing inconsistencies that seem to happen every year? What if they increased the scholarships? What's more... what if they made national individual scholarships? We all talk about individuals going to nationals on the strength of their own score, but I don't think it's as complicated as that. They could drum up a lot more interest in the competition if they started offering nationwide scholarships, say to the top 5 individual scores in each category. Bright lights on bad teams have a reason to keep studying. They have a reason to keep it competitive.

That's not to say that these are cure-alls, or that they really would do all that much. I'm well aware that it's entirely possible these are all things USAD did in the past and things that just failed to work. But it's a damn sight better than just sitting around and chuckling every year when the reigning Cali team ends up with the best score in the nation by over a thousand points (again) and ends up winning at nationals (again) to the dismay of every other state in the nation. It's much like women's basketball in the collegiate level. Currently, the University of Connecticut is on a 72 game winning streak. They've won each of those games by double digits. Read this article on the University of Connecticut's Women's Basketball team. Their NCAA tournament isn't a competition, it's a coronation. It's a big friggin problem. Saying it's a problem DOES NOT detract from how incredible UConn's streak is. Their average score in games this year? 81-46. In those 72 games, they've been behind on the scoreboard for only 20 minutes of playing time. Can you believe that? It's unreal. They dominate. In the Decathlon, in this decade, California is just that good. But it's come time, in my view, for USAD to reflect on why nobody in any other state in the damn nation can even really approach that kind of good in modern memory, and to try figuring out if they can change it. Because, as that columnist can't watch women's basketball games anymore, it's getting pretty hard to rev myself up for yet another ECR coronation. The same way there's no real march madness in the women's game, there's barely a national competition anymore. If USAD wants the Decathlon to continue, they're eventually going to need to actually throw some support to other states, and try to build competitive structures that can compete with California. Do more than just a token effort to build a new contending program from the ground up. If they don't, we might as well just stop watching. Reruns get tedious after a while.

I'd like to discuss this. Anyone game -- pro or con? Let's get a real discussion going.
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Guest_overly_critical_man_*
post Mar 15 2010, 09:49 PM
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I remember seeing a post from a decathlete from another state that amounted to trivializing the CA teams' dedication to studying as "a huge waste of time."

If that's the sort of attitude that people take into putting any time or effort into acadec, then it's not surprising to me why Nationals has become little more than a CA coronation ceremony.

Now, in the late 1990s, when I was in high school, Texas was probably slightly more dominant as a state and Taylor High was every bit as good as the ECR and Moorparks of the world. I know there's a lot of rules that have hindered Texas from keeping that level of competitivness up, but it's not impossible...it just takes a lot of dedication and effort that I don't know if any other state has the resources or time to put into.

This post has been edited by overly_critical_man: Mar 15 2010, 09:55 PM
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Guest_Stephen That Foster_*
post Mar 15 2010, 10:01 PM
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I think I agree in that the people in the states have to create everything themselves. For example, the reason behind Collegiate taking the driver's seat in PA is because of the development of the scrimmages by our school district's superintendent, and his, and the rest of the school board's, incredible effort they put in to keep it alive. This gives us more competitions to go to and more times to gauge how we compare to the rest of our state. THe only thing I've seen USAD do with this, so far, is nothing. I believe our previous state director implemented a similar program in SEPA, and our superintendent recruited Youngstown Christian from Ohio. This was all done by people within the state. I've really seen no USAD acknowledgement of this program at all, nothing to help it grow, even though it is merely a smaller version of it that has kept PA competition from dying altogether. So yeah, they kind of just leave programs to do their own thing And if they're less elite states and also lacking a miraculously cooperative state director and district with a new school they want to be the best in the state, that's their problem.
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Guest_the godfather_*
post Mar 15 2010, 10:16 PM
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Here's my two cents on the subject. Without a doubt California is on another dimension in terms of the academic decathlon. They work harder than everyone else and they have more resources than everyone else. But here is the main reason why I want a new champion. The reason I love sports is because of the great stories and upsets. I know I watch sports because there is always a great background story of a struggle to success. Also sports provides magical moments like March Madness with legendary games like Kansas and Memphis in 2008. George Mason's incredible Final Four run. The Cal vs Stanford game in 1982 with "The Play". Vince Young winning Texas the national championship. Eli Manning's incredible pass and catch to David Tyree in the Super Bowl. The Boston Red Sox coming from down 3-0 to win the ALCS and then the world series ending 86 years of frustration. This is why I watch sports. YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT AND THAT IS WHY THERE IS SOMETHING MAGICAL ABOUT COMPETITION. I mean NOBODY expected the Giants to beat the Patriots in 2008, but they did. But in Decathlon we never have the magical cinderalla story somehow taking down Goliath. Nope Decathlon always goes according to script, and that is the sad part about it. I guess what I'm really saying is that the excitement and magical moments of competition doesn't exist in Decathlon. So good luck to all the teams but unless the magic of competition appears its best to write down El Camino Real as the 2010 national champions, and you can write that in pen because it won't change.
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Guest_JSC_*
post Mar 15 2010, 10:30 PM
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Roffles, please provide your definition of a "close contest." Would 50K vs 49K qualify?

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Guest_overly_critical_man_*
post Mar 15 2010, 10:37 PM
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People complaining about no Cinderellas and nationals being blowouts in acadec seem to forget that Wisconsin won the nationals over Moorpark in 2002 and almost did it again to the highest scoring team ever 2 years ago, only losing by the margin of one relay question?

Upsets happen...it's just not as often to some of our liking.

And actually, there's been plenty of upsets in CA...it's just that those aren't the upsets people are looking for.

This post has been edited by overly_critical_man: Mar 15 2010, 10:40 PM
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Guest_TheWerg_*
post Mar 15 2010, 11:04 PM
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Here are a few thoughts that come to mind:

-99% of the people I have met at Duke don't know what Academic Decathlon is. That is a crime.
-The attitude in California is very different from anywhere else. In my area, every school has a decathlon team, similar to debate and other popular non-athletic competitions. Many of them have an AcaDec class, and many of them stay late after school studying as a team. And that IS NOT in place of individual studying, it's supposed to be on top of it (although, like everywhere else, independent studying varies from person to person). However... I can't really fathom what it takes to win state. I see the scores of teams up there, knowing what my team and other teams do and how far out of it we are, and I'm baffled. I know actually competing at state is basically as depressing an experience for most of the D1 teams there as it is for most of the D1 teams at nationals. My sister was texting me today, extremely distraught that our entire team only won three medals. I told her that's three more than we won last year. So even as someone from California I can see how it's a problem.
-I agree a lot with OCM... Cinderellas do happen sometimes (although in general it is VERY hard to win unless you're in a major program), and part of it is the attitude in other states although certainly there are hard-working teams out there. I mean Seven Lakes, CDO, MVM... those scores would all be competitive in CA, although certainly wouldn't be dominant. Who knows how they would do if they were in an environment where 50k is what you need to win, from day one? Although I guess we do know how the winners of other states do at nationals where you need a 50k to win. We'll see how it goes this year.
-Along the lines of what Reeve said, more competitions I think is the number one thing that could increase the popularity of decathlon. In debate, there are a bunch of tournaments. Dominant or just good performers tend to emerge. You have more chances to assess where you are. It keeps you on your toes a little more to be constantly worrying about the next competition. And it gives new teams and programs a lot of chances to shine. And when those teams bring back medals or ribbons, that makes other people want to join. My debate coach would always put the names of every student who went undefeated in our school's bulletin. It's good advertising. Seriously, there need to be more competitions. This format is stupid, with just four rounds. Why not allow (and encourage by something similar to what debate does with NFL points, giving out and keeping track of "points" for different things, like medals and placement) any number of preliminary competitions, and turn Round 2 into the big show and the state qualifying competition, and then you can have state and nationals as normal? I dunno, I just really feel like more competitions allows more excitement to build, especially for outside observers.

Anyway that came out a lot longer than I expected, fire away guys.
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Guest_JSC_*
post Mar 15 2010, 11:07 PM
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QUOTE (Dr. Roffles @ Mar 15 2010, 04:36 PM) *
But the fact that there's always such a gap between #1 and #2 makes nationals prognostication anticlimactic and, frankly, boring. Year in and year out.


Here are the margins over the last ten years:

310
23
1319
2939
724
266
2205
-579 (CA loses in '02)
21

That doesn't look like "always such a gap between #1 and #2" to me. You might need to recreate that data set after all.

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Guest_the godfather_*
post Mar 15 2010, 11:18 PM
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QUOTE (TheWerg @ Mar 15 2010, 06:04 PM) *
Here are a few thoughts that come to mind:

-99% of the people I have met at Duke don't know what Academic Decathlon is. That is a crime.
-The attitude in California is very different from anywhere else. In my area, every school has a decathlon team, similar to debate and other popular non-athletic competitions. Many of them have an AcaDec class, and many of them stay late after school studying as a team. And that IS NOT in place of individual studying, it's supposed to be on top of it (although, like everywhere else, independent studying varies from person to person). However... I can't really fathom what it takes to win state. I see the scores of teams up there, knowing what my team and other teams do and how far out of it we are, and I'm baffled. I know actually competing at state is basically as depressing an experience for most of the D1 teams there as it is for most of the D1 teams at nationals. My sister was texting me today, extremely distraught that our entire team only won three medals. I told her that's three more than we won last year. So even as someone from California I can see how it's a problem.
-I agree a lot with OCM... Cinderellas do happen sometimes (although in general it is VERY hard to win unless you're in a major program), and part of it is the attitude in other states although certainly there are hard-working teams out there. I mean Seven Lakes, CDO, MVM... those scores would all be competitive in CA, although certainly wouldn't be dominant. Who knows how they would do if they were in an environment where 50k is what you need to win, from day one? Although I guess we do know how the winners of other states do at nationals where you need a 50k to win. We'll see how it goes this year.
-Along the lines of what Reeve said, more competitions I think is the number one thing that could increase the popularity of decathlon. In debate, there are a bunch of tournaments. Dominant or just good performers tend to emerge. You have more chances to assess where you are. It keeps you on your toes a little more to be constantly worrying about the next competition. And it gives new teams and programs a lot of chances to shine. And when those teams bring back medals or ribbons, that makes other people want to join. My debate coach would always put the names of every student who went undefeated in our school's bulletin. It's good advertising. Seriously, there need to be more competitions. This format is stupid, with just four rounds. Why not allow (and encourage by something similar to what debate does with NFL points, giving out and keeping track of "points" for different things, like medals and placement) any number of preliminary competitions, and turn Round 2 into the big show and the state qualifying competition, and then you can have state and nationals as normal? I dunno, I just really feel like more competitions allows more excitement to build, especially for outside observers.

Anyway that came out a lot longer than I expected, fire away guys.


Some very good points. I do agree it seems like the problem with academic decathlon is "what's the point in competing if you have no chance" I bet it must be very frustrating for a lower Div 1 school to see the top teams win medal after medal and you get NOTHING. Also I like what you are saying about debate, our debate team didn't initially do very well, but the new coach got more people to try it, and go to a few competitions, so if things go well maybe you win district and move on to state, and if not you get some good experience for the future. Here its basically two competitions, regionals and state. Also how do you expect many teams to keep getting funding if they don't get any results. I was lucky enough to be in a district that valued the decathlon, but I know many don't. Its hard when you have no funding and no support from your school district. I think this is big because I'm ASSUMING that California especially in the LAUSD pump heavy money into the decathlon teams.

As for the cinderella thing its not to complain its just more of frustration that no one else has been able to break through. As for the Duke thing you said that is pretty incredible for such a prestigious university to have so few know of the decathlon. I know I've actually met a few people who did Acdec in high school here at UT and that is in the midst of over 50k students. (I mean outside the people on this board like Hartman obviously)
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Guest_overly_critical_man_*
post Mar 15 2010, 11:50 PM
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QUOTE (the godfather @ Mar 15 2010, 04:18 PM) *
Some very good points. I do agree it seems like the problem with academic decathlon is "what's the point in competing if you have no chance" I bet it must be very frustrating for a lower Div 1 school to see the top teams win medal after medal and you get NOTHING. Also I like what you are saying about debate, our debate team didn't initially do very well, but the new coach got more people to try it, and go to a few competitions, so if things go well maybe you win district and move on to state, and if not you get some good experience for the future. Here its basically two competitions, regionals and state. Also how do you expect many teams to keep getting funding if they don't get any results. I was lucky enough to be in a district that valued the decathlon, but I know many don't. Its hard when you have no funding and no support from your school district. I think this is big because I'm ASSUMING that California especially in the LAUSD pump heavy money into the decathlon teams.


I'm gonna quote something I wrote in another thread on the subject of monetary and support factors...

QUOTE (OCM, conqueror of Mars)
Remember how Steinmetz complained about how socioeconomic factors affected their chances so they HAD to cheat? BULL! I came from an inner city bottom 10 rated CA public school and we raised holy hell on national scores until everyone decided to get girlfriends and stop studying. ;_;

Anything is possible if you belieeeeeevvvvvvvvveeeeeeee


My school was poor. Dirt poor. Got basically very little in the way of funding. We did the best with what we had...which was basically nothing. We decided to take on the ECR and Moorparks of the world and take it to another level because a bunch of CA decathletes pissed us off in a chatroom in June of that year. That was all the motivation we needed.

But motivation and dedication is something that you need to hold onto. That's the key between national champions and also-rans. You also need a certain amount of swagger. I rag on Collegiate in PA a lot, but sometimes, that's the sort of attitude you need to survive in the cruel jungles of acadec. You can't just SAY you're going to beat someone, you really need to truly in your mind believe that you're going to win. Get a team full of self-motivated people ready to punch other people in the face to prove their self worth and you've got yourself a contender!

Anyhow, that doesn't really help the core problem presented in this thread, but I'm just trying to give Werg some more insight into how anyone can possibly breakthrough into the "elite". It takes a very certain type of team synergy.
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Guest_the godfather_*
post Mar 16 2010, 12:21 AM
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QUOTE (overly_critical_man @ Mar 15 2010, 06:50 PM) *
QUOTE (the godfather @ Mar 15 2010, 04:18 PM) *
Some very good points. I do agree it seems like the problem with academic decathlon is "what's the point in competing if you have no chance" I bet it must be very frustrating for a lower Div 1 school to see the top teams win medal after medal and you get NOTHING. Also I like what you are saying about debate, our debate team didn't initially do very well, but the new coach got more people to try it, and go to a few competitions, so if things go well maybe you win district and move on to state, and if not you get some good experience for the future. Here its basically two competitions, regionals and state. Also how do you expect many teams to keep getting funding if they don't get any results. I was lucky enough to be in a district that valued the decathlon, but I know many don't. Its hard when you have no funding and no support from your school district. I think this is big because I'm ASSUMING that California especially in the LAUSD pump heavy money into the decathlon teams.


I'm gonna quote something I wrote in another thread on the subject of monetary and support factors...

QUOTE (OCM, conqueror of Mars)
Remember how Steinmetz complained about how socioeconomic factors affected their chances so they HAD to cheat? BULL! I came from an inner city bottom 10 rated CA public school and we raised holy hell on national scores until everyone decided to get girlfriends and stop studying. ;_;

Anything is possible if you belieeeeeevvvvvvvvveeeeeeee


My school was poor. Dirt poor. Got basically very little in the way of funding. We did the best with what we had...which was basically nothing. We decided to take on the ECR and Moorparks of the world and take it to another level because a bunch of CA decathletes pissed us off in a chatroom in June of that year. That was all the motivation we needed.

But motivation and dedication is something that you need to hold onto. That's the key between national champions and also-rans. You also need a certain amount of swagger. I rag on Collegiate in PA a lot, but sometimes, that's the sort of attitude you need to survive in the cruel jungles of acadec. You can't just SAY you're going to beat someone, you really need to truly in your mind believe that you're going to win. Get a team full of self-motivated people ready to punch other people in the face to prove their self worth and you've got yourself a contender!

Anyhow, that doesn't really help the core problem presented in this thread, but I'm just trying to give Werg some more insight into how anyone can possibly breakthrough into the "elite". It takes a very certain type of team synergy.


Well its one thing to say you can beat someone its another to actually do it. I'm sure all the 16 seeds are telling themselves and truly think we can be the first to ever upset a 1, but that doesn't mean it happens.
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Guest_Dr. Roffles_*
post Mar 16 2010, 12:22 AM
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QUOTE (JSC @ Mar 15 2010, 06:30 PM) *
Roffles, please provide your definition of a "close contest." Would 50K vs 49K qualify?

A contest where the California team is not the prohibitive favorite. And, like it or not, if a team is leading by over 1000 after round 3... they're very large favorites. A lead from 50 to 500 makes the team the slim favorite. A lead from 500 points onward makes the team the moderate favorite. A lead beyond roughly 1000 points makes them the prohibitive favorite, where the chances of another team leapfrogging become quite slim. If it happens, it's going to be a nailbiter. Not impossible, obviously, but very slim. This does not mean, by the way, that the margin won't slim up. It almost always does, actually -- if I remember my data right, I'm pretty sure that Cali's lead over the field has slimmed almost every year by the time Nationals rolls along, at least in the last 10 years. But in the last decade, there has been ONE time where California has not been the strongest favorite to win the title. 2001, when Texas was leading in round 3. 2001 and 2002 were great years for the decathlon -- the outcome was legitimately in doubt and they look like they were wonderful nip and tuck competitions to follow. Since then? Honestly... not quite so much. I added a bit to your margin data:
    2010: ??? (1800)
    2009: 310 (1600) -
    2008: 23 (700) -
    2007: 1319 (1200) +
    2006: 2939 (4000) -
    2005: 724 (2400) -
    2004: 266 (1400) -
    2003: 2205 (1800) +
    2002: -579 (800) -
    2001: 21 (-1200) +
I added, after your margins, the margin between the Cali team and the next closest competitor in round 3 (in parenthesis). In 7/10 years, the margin between Cali and the field fell from round 3 to round 2. Probably not coincidentally, in the last 9 years the margin has never dipped anywhere near below 500. The years below 1000 were the years it was a legitimately close contest where the outcome was in doubt. The fact is, having such a massive gap doesn't just shortchange the nation, it shortchanges Cali schools as well. Who's to say they don't slack a little, knowing the competition is all but won and their scholarships are all but paid for? They anchor massive increases from round 2 to round 3 every year. And they tend to increase for nationals, too. But the second place team almost always increases more. Because they're gunning for California.

But they never seem to make it. The point is that given round 3 data there is no particularly good reason to believe anybody else has a major chance. If the lead was under 1000 points? Then we're talking. That wouldn't make it wide open, persay, but it certainly wouldn't make them prohibitive favorites. As it stands, though... they have a massive lead on the field as of now. MVM is the only team so far that's in their zip code. Could Whitney Young change that? Sure. And MVM had a monstrous 3000 point improvement several years back -- it's ALWAYS possible that a team comes from nowhere and crushes ECR. As always, there's reason to expect the field will make up a significant amount of ground on ECR. But with a lead as large as the one they have now, it almost certainly won't be enough. That's the point. It'd be nice to have a year where it at least seems like California needs to do more than just tread water if they want to win the title.

2007 was a good year for the decathlon from both a competitive standpoint and a "every team putting their best foot forward" standpoint, but even then -- ECR was a large favorite. Let's not kid ourselves. A 700 point lead at Round 3 is pretty large. And, yes. They pulled it out, despite the thinned margin.

QUOTE (overly_critical_man @ Mar 15 2010, 06:37 PM) *
People complaining about no Cinderellas and nationals being blowouts in acadec seem to forget that Wisconsin won the nationals over Moorpark in 2002 and almost did it again to the highest scoring team ever 2 years ago, only losing by the margin of one relay question?

Upsets happen...it's just not as often to some of our liking.

And actually, there's been plenty of upsets in CA...it's just that those aren't the upsets people are looking for.


I'm not saying Nationals is always a blowout, though I suppose after the UConn tangent that might be reasonably inferred. I'm saying that after round 3, there has been exactly one year in the last 10 where California wasn't the favored team (ironically, they won in an upset win that year). I think it's more apt to say that upsets DID happen. 2001 was a Cali upset over a James E. Taylor powerhouse. 2002 was a Waukesha upset over a Moorpark powerhouse. Since then, though, all of the drama at nationals has been in the lower reaches, because while Cali's lead narrows every year, they always study enough to pull it off -- even if it ends up being a slim as hell margin, which it often ends up as. 2007 was a special year, though. Despite the ECR win.
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Guest_overly_critical_man_*
post Mar 16 2010, 12:30 AM
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QUOTE (the godfather @ Mar 15 2010, 05:21 PM) *
Well its one thing to say you can beat someone its another to actually do it. I'm sure all the 16 seeds are telling themselves and truly think we can be the first to ever upset a 1, but that doesn't mean it happens.


It's a certain mindset. It's one thing to have the idea in your mind that you "think" you can win. It's a whole different thing to "KNOW" you will win and then doing everything in your power to get there. It's a pretty thin line, but there is a difference.
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Guest_gibisee_*
post Mar 16 2010, 12:53 AM
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It wasn't always this way, at least I've heard of a time long, long ago when Texas used to win nationals. So something changed, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't just someone at USAD saying "Hey! let's just see how many times we can give the national championship to california before everyone else gives up?" It could very well change again (preferably not to another set-up where one state wins everything). Also, I would say that we should probably try to address the hegemony some teams have over a state (WW and WY for one).
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Guest_Stephen That Foster_*
post Mar 16 2010, 12:56 AM
Post #15





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QUOTE (overly_critical_man @ Mar 15 2010, 08:30 PM) *
QUOTE (the godfather @ Mar 15 2010, 05:21 PM) *
Well its one thing to say you can beat someone its another to actually do it. I'm sure all the 16 seeds are telling themselves and truly think we can be the first to ever upset a 1, but that doesn't mean it happens.


It's a certain mindset. It's one thing to have the idea in your mind that you "think" you can win. It's a whole different thing to "KNOW" you will win and then doing everything in your power to get there. It's a pretty thin line, but there is a difference.

That is another thing Cali has in an advantage is mindset. They've KNOWN, pretty much every year, if they win state, they win nats. So they go into nats KNOWING they are going to win, not just having a good idea that they are, it's pretty much been set in stone. That being said, that is the reason I never make official predictions, as I wouldn't be able to put my team anywhere but first, since I'm always 100% positive I'm going to win, which is what made my first nationals experience HORRIBLY disappointing. Going into a competition thinking you are going to lose is a bad thing, but the fact that we CAN compete with and take down Cali on an individual level gives me hope that they are not invincible, and will fall, hopefully this year, we're coming for you ECR, you've been warned.
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Guest_janowski_27_*
post Mar 16 2010, 01:12 AM
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Here's how I see things from the other end of the spectrum (although I feel a bit like a Communist at the RNC). Firstly, CA/LAUSD does NOT "pump money" into Deca. We pay for everything ourselves, and we're not some private school who can blow money on whatever. We're actually the only school in LAUSD that gets NO Title 1 funding. The difference, as most of you have pinpointed, is a question of culture. At ECR, Deca is (or at least used to be, before the past two years where we didn't advance) THE SHIZ. Decathletes are respected, if not quite popular (it'd be pretty hard in a school that for the large part defines the term "valley girl"), and to be a decathlete means that people have not only a high opinion, but extremely high expectations of you. The part about no one at Duke knowing about Deca is, I think, fairly representative from what I can guess. There are A LOT of former Decathletes at Berkeley, and the majority (I'd say about 90%) of the people I meet and talk to have either faintly heard of Deca or have never heard of it. The fact is, Deca is a definite culture, but it's not by any means widespread, and as long as it's not known or respected, the dynastic structure will most likely perpetuate itself.
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Guest_TheAwesomeKid_*
post Mar 16 2010, 01:26 AM
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QUOTE (Dr. Roffles @ Mar 15 2010, 08:22 PM) *
QUOTE (JSC @ Mar 15 2010, 06:30 PM) *
Roffles, please provide your definition of a "close contest." Would 50K vs 49K qualify?

The fact is, having such a massive gap doesn't just shortchange the nation, it shortchanges Cali schools as well. Who's to say they don't slack a little, knowing the competition is all but won and their scholarships are all but paid for? They anchor massive increases from round 2 to round 3 every year. And they tend to increase for nationals, too. But the second place team almost always increases more. Because they're gunning for California.


confused.gif. I mostly agree with you, but I seriously doubt the coaches at Taft, ECR, and Moorpark allow their kids to 'slack a little' despite their massive leads. More likely, I'd say, it's easier to increase from a 49k to a 50k than it is to get from the 50k to 51k. Usually cali scores still increase after state, they just increase less than everyone else simply because they have less room to increase.
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Guest_Dr. Roffles_*
post Mar 16 2010, 01:32 AM
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Valid point. I don't mean institutionally, though -- I mean on an individual level, from student to student. Less motivation for individual studying if you personally know your team is so far up.
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Guest_TheAwesomeKid_*
post Mar 16 2010, 01:42 AM
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eh, even then - in competitions where i knew our team wasn't going to win and i also knew i was going to win individually, i still worked as hard as i could so i could beat my teammates. probably if these kids are motivated to be scoring 8.7, 8.8k, they are going to keep each other motivated.
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Guest_overly_critical_man_*
post Mar 16 2010, 01:54 AM
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QUOTE (TheAwesomeKid @ Mar 15 2010, 06:42 PM) *
eh, even then - in competitions where i knew our team wasn't going to win and i also knew i was going to win individually, i still worked as hard as i could so i could beat my teammates. probably if these kids are motivated to be scoring 8.7, 8.8k, they are going to keep each other motivated.


Yes, there are huge inter-team rivalries. I don't know if they still do it at state, but in CA, the top scorer on each team used to get scholarships. So the incentive to still do good is huge.
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