A Top 10 finish was earned by the Oakdale High School Aca Deca team at the 32nd Annual California Academic Decathlon held March 11-14 in Sacramento. Placing eighth overall made the OHS team the highest-ranking Northern California Aca Deca team this year. Top 10 teams were awarded with plaques and the OHS team earned eight individual medals.
OHS Aca Deca competing team members are Daniel Dunning, Kyle Ridenour, Alissa Kummer, Paul Perrone, Nathan Van Ryn, Ryan Gilpin, Robert Anderson, Thomas Roberts, and Andrew Gilpin.
Dunning was the team’s overall high scoring member with 8,533 points. He won gold medals in Economics and Speech, and a bronze in Art. Ridenour, Kummer, and Perrone also each earned a bronze in Art. Van Ryn earned a bronze in Social Science. Anderson received a silver in Speech.
“… Our kids increased their team score by nearly 1,900 points, so they are quite excited by the outcome of the weekend,” said coach Lissa Jones. “I couldn’t be more proud of these students who spent countless hours preparing for the level of competition they would face – and they stood out… These kids put in a stellar performance and have maintained our position as a top program in this highly competitive state.”
Jones reported that Oakdale competed against much larger schools, but since OHS was among the top 20 scoring teams at the county level, OHS was assigned to Division 1. Prior to 2009, Stanislaus was in Division 2 because the divisions were based on county sizes.
Jones added that many of the teams in Division 1 are from the same counties, primarily Los Angeles. Also, because the runners up, third place, and so on had very high scores, those schools received “wild card” bids. LA Unified sent more than 10 schools and their top seven schools made Division 1 rankings.
“Since we went to this system, Oakdale has been ranked in the top 20 each year and so we must compete against very large schools,” Jones said. “To reach the Top 10 in a competition with 67 teams is amazing and I am thrilled that they received the recognition for their efforts.”
The rest of the Top 10 teams were all from Los Angeles, except for the fourth and 10th place teams, which represented Fresno County. Stanislaus was also the only county to send only one team to place in the Top 10 as well as being the only Northern California team represented in the top.
Jones said that the OHS team will lose five seniors to graduation this year; however, four of the nine competing team members are planning on returning next year.
“Those who are not graduating are planning for next year, and they started planning on the car ride home from Sacramento,” she said.
In all, 567 students representing 65 high school teams from across the state competed in this year’s California Academic Decathlon.
Jones noted that the winning California team has the top score in the nation and is the favorite to win nationals. If that happens, it will be the ninth consecutive year that a California team has won – every team that has won has come from either LA Unified or Ventura.
To learn more about the California Academic Decathlon, visit the CAD website at www.academicdecathlon.org.