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Oakdale AcaDec Team Remains A Contender
Second Place Trophy
aca dec 2
Grasping the reality, as it was announced Saturday afternoon: the streak is over. The 16-year winning streak maintained by the OHS AcaDec team came to an end as Oakdale was replaced in the top spot by Hughson High School. Total points for the two teams were 45,217 Hughson and 44,365 Oakdale. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

The streak is over.

Tears were shed, hugs exchanged and congratulatory pats given as Oakdale accepted the unfamiliar title as Runner-up in the 37th Annual Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon.

Attempting to maintain a 16-year running winning streak and stretch it to 17 is no easy feat. With just one returning veteran member on the competing team and eight novices, Oakdale conceded the win to the hungry Hughson Huskies.

Prior to Saturday’s competition the team noted awareness of Hughson’s ability and drive for the title. They also acknowledged the opposing team held more veterans, which posed another threat. The Mustangs, however, did not make it easy on the Huskies. Hughson achieved the win over Oakdale with 45,217 points overall. A number which was just 852 points higher than Oakdale’s overall score of 44,365 points.

“We have a really strong program,” AcaDec Coach Dee Hawksworth said to the group. “Hughson had a stronger program, but that’s because their Varsity was so strong.”

Amidst the defeat, there were equally memorable highlights. Honors team and remaining competing team veteran Taryn Lane went out leaving her own legacy. Earning total points of 9,114 Lane now holds the county record for highest points scored. She also earned a perfect score in the Art Category.

“That’s an insane way to beat a record,” fellow teammate Anna Hawksworth-Lutzow said of Lane’s achievement. “That’s a huge margin.”

“When you have a streak, it’s like Oakdale wins,” Lane acknowledged of her fourth year on the team.

Reflecting back she said, “I do have a realist aspect … thinking like, yeah it is possible we could lose, especially this year with the team being so new. My own personal thing was, I was studying so hard, thinking I could make up for the team. I did all I could.”

With three of the nine competing team members being seniors, the coach recognized the team will have a gap, but is encouraged by the strength and prowess of the remaining team members.

“I’m really proud of how hard the team worked, and I am confident we will do better next year,” Hawksworth said. “Even though we won’t have Taryn’s amazing score anymore, the rest of the team should be stronger as a whole.”

The Honors team, composed of seniors Taryn Lane, Anna Hawksworth-Lutzow and junior Russell Pabalan scored a perfect Super Quiz 24/24 score.

“Sometimes it’s really easy to second guess yourself,” Hawksworth-Lutzow said of the Super Quiz, noting that the teams of three only have 10 seconds to discuss and choose their answer for each question.

As both a senior and a veteran, Lane acknowledged multiple factors she felt attributed to the end of the Oakdale streak. During her four-year tenure it was the first time the team had three freshmen competing, only one experienced veteran and a young team overall in the way of experience regarding the study habits of what’s required to be a championship team.

“There’s always been a veteran on each team,” she said of the three competing teams.

“I think it was just the fact that we were so green,” fellow senior and Scholastic teammate Autumn Neal said. “We got 800 points within a team (Hughson) that had seven veterans, a team that had such a strong Varsity team and we only had one veteran. I think that in itself is an accomplishment.

“This could just be the year that we didn’t win and we’ll just win after this,” she continued.

“It is probably best for the team overall that the streak end,” Oakdale Joint Unified School Superintendent Marc Malone shared via e-mail. “Now we can be the hunters and not the hunted.”

In addition to the runner-up trophy and Lane’s overall record breaking win, team members came home with a respectable number of medals. Results of the overall individual standings will appear in the Feb. 15 issue of The Leader.