Teams from 24 Los Angeles-area high schools — including reigning national champion Granada Hills Charter High School — began competing Saturday in the California Academic Decathlon.

Granada Hills, despite winning the state and national competition six of the last seven years, entered the California contest as a slight underdog. It placed second in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Academic Decathlon in February, finishing behind district winner El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills.

El Camino won the national Academic Decathlon in 2014.

In addition to El Camino and Granada Hills, other LAUSD schools that qualified for the state competition are Bell, Chatsworth Charter, Grover Cleveland Charter, Benjamin Franklin, James A. Garfield, Ulysses S. Grant, Alexander Hamilton, Nathaniel Narbonne, North Hollywood, Palisades Charter and Van Nuys high schools, along with Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences.

South Pasadena High School, meanwhile, will lead a contingent of 10 teams from the Los Angeles County Academic Decathlon, a competition run by the Los Angeles County Office of Education for all public high schools outside the LAUSD.

South Pasadena won the county Academic Decathlon in February, for its fourth consecutive victory.

Other county high schools qualifying for the statewide competition are Alhambra, Beverly Hills, Edgewood, Mark Keppel, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Redondo Union, Rosemead, South and West.

The state competition winner, which will be announced Sunday, will advance to the U.S. Academic Decathlon taking place in Frisco, Texas, in April. This year’s competition is centered on the theme of Africa.

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