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Oakdale High wins Super Quiz title at State Aca Dec
OHS sq
Members of the OHS Aca Dec competing team following the awards ceremony at the 45th Annual State Academic Decathlon. Shown, from left, Joseph Yakligian, Carter Franca, Evelyn Acker, Iyska Rangel, Landon Arnold, Jamie Ruddy, Daniella Ruddy and Coach Dee Hawksworth. Not pictured: Jacob Johnson and Julia Chavez. Photo Contributed

Oakdale High School’s Academic Decathlon team has finished out the season on a high note.

The weekend of March 21 to 24, the team traveled to Santa Clara to compete at the state level in the 45th Annual Academic Decathlon.

In addition to a number of individual awards, the team earned First Place honors for the Super Quiz, Division 3.

“The team spirit was pretty high going into the state competition,” Coach Dee Hawksworth shared. “We were excited to be in Division III and many of the team members had been working hard and were optimistic about earning a medal or two.”

The coach further shared, while the Super Quiz win for the division was not a first for OHS at the state level, it had been some time since the last win, which made it all the more exciting for the nine-member team.

“It was a happy surprise,” she said.

“When it was over, they felt they had done well and the numbers looked good to me,” she continued, “but with almost 60 teams on the floor, it was hard to tell how our scores were comparing.”

The team collectively brought home a total of 10 medals, as well as an Overall Scholastic Silver Medal to Carter Franca and a 7k Pin for Joseph Yakligian.

Medals were awarded to the following team members:

Carter Franca: Art, Third Place; Economics, Second Place; Literature, First Place; Speech, Third Place.

Joseph Yakligian: Math, First Place; Music, First Place.

Iyska Rangel: Music, Third Place.

Julia Chavez: Speech, First Place; Interview, Third Place.

Jacob Johnson: Literature, Second Place.

Coach Hawksworth indicated while she can recall the team doing well with the medal count at State prior to her coaching, it can ebb and flow. The Division the team is placed in each year, also serves as a factor of overall performance.

Reflecting on the year, winning county and then competing well at State, the veteran coach offered some thoughts and feelings overall.

“First, knowing Carter Franca is about to graduate is a bit tough,” she confessed. “He’s been a mainstay on the teams for four years, and the fact that he won the Top Scholastic Award at the county competition three times must be some kind of record, definitely for Oakdale and maybe for the whole county.”

With that said, though, the coach noted the future remains bright for the OHS decathletes.

“However, one thing I have learned in coaching Aca Dec is that it’s not always about their ages,” she said, noting a strong belief in the other members of the team. “I’ve heard other coaches talk about how certain years are ‘growing’ years because they have younger teams, but I don’t let myself think that way. I go into it assuming we can have another winning year.”