Ketchikan High School

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Ketchikan High School
Ketchikan High School logo
School Founded 1954
Team Established 1985
History Ketchikan High School is the only school from Southeast Alaska to win the Alaska state championship, and the first Alaska school to win its division at nationals.
City Ketchikan, Alaska
Team Colors Maroon and White
Principal Jason House
Head Coach Peter Stanton
Associate/Other Head Coach(es) Kris Blasingame
National Championships 2018
State Championships 2018
Regional/County Championships Not Officially Determined
Region/County Location Southeast Alaska
Highest Finish 24th (1st in Division III): 2018 Nationals
School Website

Ketchikan High School, (also known as “Kayhi”), is the main high school serving Ketchikan, Alaska, and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District. The school's mascot is a king salmon, and students are referred to as Kings. For more information on the school, see its article on Wikipedia.

At Kayhi, Academic Decathlon is referred to as “AcDc,” and the competition has been valued as one the school’s extra-curricular activities for decades. The team won the Alaska state championship for the first time in 2018, and then went on to become Division III Champions at the 2018 Nationals.

Team History[edit]

Ketchikan High School's Academic Decathlon program has existed since at least 1985. The program was coached by Jon Wipfli from 1985-1990, and Kayhi's first recorded score comes from 1988, when the team ranked sixth in Alaska. The team was coached by Christa Bruce for two years from 1990-1992, before Don Kralis took over the program and coached until 1999. Sean Powell was the team’s longest-serving coach, from 1999-2013. He oversaw some of the team’s best performances, including second place overall in 2010. Following Sean Powell’s retirement from coaching, Candice Robb served as coach for the 2013-2014 season. Peter Stanton, who competed as a Kayhi decathlete from 2005-2009, took over as coach in 2014. Kris Blasingame (also a former Kayhi decathlete, 2007-2009) signed on as an assistant coach soon after.

At the 2016 state tournament the Kayhi team ranked 4th, but fell just 9.4 points behind West Valley High School, the defending champions from 2015, and only 1,485.3 points behind champions Interior Distance Education of Alaska (IDEA), constituting the closest top-four spread in Alaska history. At the 2017 state tournament, the team achieved its highest total score ever and won second place overall, losing to Lathrop High School by only 396.5 points. The loss was the closest in Alaska since 2007.

In 2018, Ketchikan High School was the first team from Southeast Alaska to ever win the Alaska State championship. The team went on to become Division III Champions at the 2018 Nationals, the first school from Alaska to ever win its division in national competition.

Regional Tournaments[edit]

Ketchikan is one of three Academic Decathlon teams that currently compete in Southeast Alaska, the others being Craig High School and Juneau-Douglas High School. Metlakatla High School also competed until the 2017-2018 season. These teams have historically held two regional tournaments every year, one in early December and another in early January. Because the teams do not formally determine their decathletes' GPA categories at these tournaments or form qualifying teams of 6-9 decathletes, no overall winning team is decided. Traditionally, the hosting team announces the top ten individual scores in each event, the top ten individual scorers overall, and the winners of the SuperQuiz.

For years, Southeast Alaska’s January regional tournament was hosted by Ketchikan every other year, alternating with Craig High School. Juneau-Douglas High School hosted the December tournament every year during this time. Beginning in 2015, Metlakatla High School began hosting January regional tournaments, alternating with Craig, and Ketchikan moved to hosting December regional tournaments, alternating with Juneau-Douglas. During the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons, however, the Southeast teams organized a "virtual meet" in January in order to save travel costs.

Regional tournaments hosted by Ketchikan High School are held in the school library, with speeches and interviews conducted in classrooms.

State Tournament Performance[edit]

The Kayhi team has often performed well against the other large schools in the state, culminating in Kayhi winning its first state championship in 2018. However, the team has also had a few poor showings over the last decade. In 2013, in particular, only four decathletes were able to compete for the Kayhi team, accounting for the low score. Ketchikan High School placed second at the state tournament twice in the team's history, in 2010 and 2017. In both cases, Kayhi lost to Lathrop High School, and Kayhi had never scored higher than Lathrop at the state tournament until defeating them for the championship in 2018. Kayhi has the smallest student enrollment of any of the large schools competing in Alaska, and as such it is the smallest school to win the Alaska championship since 2002, when Valdez High School won.

From 2013-2018, the Kayhi team steadily increased its total score and overall performance every year. In 2016, the team's total score of 35,623.6 was the highest in Kayhi history up to that point. The team lost third place to West Valley by just 9.4 points (less than 0.03%). The difference of only 1,485.3 points (4%) between Kayhi's score and that of 2016 champions IDEA represented the closest finish between the top four teams in the history of Alaska's state tournament.

The 2017 tournament saw the team set a new record for its highest total score ever, and Kayhi won second place overall for the second time (the first being 2010). The loss to Lathrop of only 396.5 points was the closest result in Alaska since 2007, when Lathrop lost to West Valley by 115.3 points.

In 2018, Ketchikan was the first team from Southeast to ever win the Alaska State championship, scoring 42,398.3 points, the fourth-highest winning score on record in Alaska at that time.

Record Board[edit]

Overall Team: 2018 State - 42,398.3

Honors: Max Varela, 2018 State - 7,665.3

Scholastic: Emme Andersen, 2018 State - 6,851

Varsity: Lydia Sumrall, 2018 State - 7,258.6

Performance Chart[edit]

Year State Score State Rank Nationals Score Nationals Rank
2019 33,177.1 4 DNC DNC
2018 42,398.3 1 40,623.4 24
2017 38,459.5 2 DNC DNC
2016 35,623.6 4 DNC DNC
2015 27,914.2 11 DNC DNC
2014 26,896.5 8 DNC DNC
2013 18,052.9 16 DNC DNC
2012 30,978.5 7 DNC DNC
2011 29,709.5 6 DNC DNC
2010 33,024.1 2 DNC DNC
2009 33,812.3 4 DNC DNC
2008 33,537.9 5 DNC DNC
2007 32,456.6 5 DNC DNC
2006 - - DNC DNC
2005 30,014.3 5 DNC DNC
1988 - 6 DNC DNC