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A Baker's Dozen - Aca Dec Team Takes Trophy
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The OHS Aca Dec team is victorious again, having won the 2013 Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon for the 13th consecutive year. Here, members cheer their accomplishment. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader


Oakdale High School has taken the academic championship trophy again, for the 13th time in a row. The OHS team beat out 11 other high schools, swept the top spots for individual high points, and also won the Super Quiz at the 33rd Annual Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon on Feb. 1-2 at Gregori High School, Modesto.

The Super Quiz and Awards Presentation was on Saturday, Feb. 2, where OHS won with 47,661.8 points, Ceres High School was runner-up and most improved with 39,696.8 points, and Denair High School was third and also the small school winner with 38,462.4 points.

“I’m very proud of them and happy for them. They pulled it off. They did it again,” said OHS Aca Dec coach Linda Dodge of her team.

OHS sent a total of 34 students to compete. Nine of those students comprised the OHS competing team, while the others were alternates. Competing team members represented three different levels – Honors, Scholastic, and Varsity – based on grade point averages.

OHS Honors team members are Dylan Hawksworth-Lutzow, Madison Lane, and Alexander Keyser. Scholastic members are Jarrod Colvin, Elizabeth Erwin, and Adam Jensen. Varsity members are Thomas Dempsey, Jared Medeiros, and Fernando Cruz. Honors members hold a 3.75-4.00 GPA; Scholastic members hold a 3.00-3.74 GPA; and Varsity members hold a 0.00-2.99 GPA.

Individual high point division winners were Hawksworth-Lutzow as the Honors Champion and also the overall point champion for the team with 8,111.7 individual points, Colvin was the Scholastic Champion with 7,746.6 points, Dempsey Varsity Champion with 6,438.6 points, and Austin Clayton was the Alternate Champion with 4997.3 points. Clayton also tied for writing the top overall essay.

Hawksworth-Lutzow is a junior and serving in his first year on the competing team. Although he knew he’d done well at the competition, he was surprised when he heard his name called as being the overall high point winner.

“It’s a shock. I didn’t expect it,” he said. “We all did really well and I’m stunned.”

Dempsey added that being part of the winning team is “really exciting” and that it was nice to see that all the hard work was a worthy investment.

Clayton agreed and offered some insight into what it takes to be successful at the Academic Decathlon.

“The hard work really does pay off,” Clayton said of preparing for the competition. “It takes a lot of time. It all comes down to scheduling and time management… organization and general hard work… If you don’t divide up the work, you’ll get burned out.”

Coach Dodge said that in a way she can breathe easier now that the contest is over but noted that she sees some things she needs to do differently with the team and she’ll focus on improving.

“With every year that we win, there’s that much more pressure,” she said.

She admitted that with so many consecutive wins, she worries about the team becoming complacent and noted that it could be a long way to fall, even if it is just to second place.

“Anyone in this (coaching) position will feel the pressure,” Dodge said. “We have a legacy to live up to.”

She reported that the team will get to enjoy their county win by taking about a week off from the intense studying and then they’ll have to get right back to it to get ready for the state competition. OHS will represent Stanislaus County and leave for the California Academic Decathlon State Finals in Sacramento on March 14 and return March 17.

See the Feb. 13 issue of The Leader for full OHS Aca Dec team results and more photos from the county competition.