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OHS Aca Dec Team Takes Coveted Trophy Once Again
The 24-member Oakdale High School Academic Decathlon team took to the makeshift stage Saturday, Feb. 5 in the Stanislaus County Office of Education parking lot as they were named the 2022 overall winner of the annual Academic Decathlon. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

While the setting was much different and the faces fresh, the overall outcome was one which gives testament to long hours of studying, as well as a team prepared for greatness.

On Saturday, Feb. 5, the Oakdale High School Aca Dec Team was once again named Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon Champion. With a total score of 36,477 the 24-member team not only earned the overall title, but the competing team of nine won the Super Quiz event as well.

With California restrictions for gatherings being what they are, weather was on the side of the SCOE organizers, sunshine and moderate temperatures allowing for the event to be hosted in person at the office’s downtown Modesto parking lot. That proved to be a welcome change from last year’s virtual completion, which found Oakdale earning a second place finish.

Prior to Saturday’s decathlon, the competing team members shared being excited and energized by the opportunity to not only once again study together, but compete in person.

The team will now advance to a virtual State Aca Dec Competition, to be hosted in March.

The nine competing team members of the 42nd Annual event were: Honors (3.75+ GPA): Cesar Garcia Santana, Micah Kakuno and Joseph Yakligian; Scholastic Team (3.0-3.74 GPA): Carter Franca, Mateo Cepeda and Bleu Ancheta; Varsity Team (less than 3.0 GPA): Bailey Hardman, Johanna Fabian and Yareli Duarte.

“I’m incredibly happy with Saturday’s results,” veteran Aca Dec Coach, Dee Hawksworth shared. “I’m glad our senior Cesar Garcia Santana was able to end his Aca Dec career with another victory and that freshman Joseph Yakligian did so well.”

Garcia Santana walked away with a total of eight medals, while newcomer freshman Yakligian took home a total of five individual awards.

Yet through the course of the medal ceremony it became quite clear that the Oakdale team had a number of heavy hitters, all of which contributed to the overall score. It was the combination of both a strong alternate team, as well as a competing team, that saw OHS walking away with individual medals in all categories.

“We had sophomore Carter Franca win the Scholastic Division and Johana Fabian medaled in all ten events, winning the Varsity Division,” Hawksworth continued.

In the 42 years of Academic Decathlon competition, OHS holds the record for most wins at 19 and longest winning streak from 2001 to 2016.

“I’m already looking ahead to State and next year’s team,” the coach confided, “but I’m also trying to enjoy this moment.”

Look for the overall and individual results from the 42nd Annual Academic Decathlon in the Wednesday, Feb. 16 issue of The Leader.

The number 3, shown by Oakdale High School Vice Principal Diane Kline became a common sight on Saturday as the OHS Aca Dec team commanded the Super Quiz resulting in a win. During the live competition numbers are shown to the audience as to the number of competing team members getting a specific question right. Teresa Hammond/The Leader