El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills will begin defending its California and U.S. Academic Decathlon titles Friday as competition gets underway in this year’s state contest in Sacramento.

In what has become an annual battle, El Camino will face tough competition from fellow Los Angeles Unified School District campus Granada Hills Charter High School. Granada Hills has won the state and national Academic Decathlons six of the past eight years — with El Camino winning both crowns last year and in 2014.

El Camino and Granada Hills have traditionally gone to the statewide competition representing the LAUSD, but this year, the schools did not take part in the district’s local Academic Decathlon, competing instead in the Southern California Private/Independent Region.

Granada Hills topped that region with a score of 58,910.2 out of a possible 65,880 points. That was the leading score of any school in the state. El Camino finished second with 56,879.1 — the second-highest score in the state.

With those schools moving to the private/independent regional competition, the LAUSD crown this year went to Franklin High School, which led the district contest with 55,204.1 points, third-highest in the state, followed closely by Grant High School, with 54,559.7.

Nine teams from the LAUSD competition will be competing in the statewide contest — Franklin, Grant, Garfield, Bell, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Marshall, Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences and Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets.

The Los Angeles County Office of Education will send eight teams to the state contest, led by county champion West High School, which scored 54,459 points in the local competition. Also advancing from the county competition were Mark Keppel (Alhambra), Beverly Hills, Edgewood (West Covina), Rosemead, El Rancho (Pico Rivera), Redondo Union and Palos Verdes Peninsula.

The winner of the state competition — themed “The 1960s: A Transformational Decade” — will be announced Sunday and will advance to the U.S. Academic Decathlon taking place in Bloomington, Minnesota, in April.

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