Marysville decathletes take top honors
"I survived," said Marysville High School junior Jordan Conneely of her time spent on the academic decathlon team. Though she meant this statement jokingly, the words are somewhat fitting.
Coach Angela Stegall and the 11 decathletes put a lot of time and effort into this competition — in fact, they spent 400 hours of practice time studying, taking practice tests and eating all kinds of food. The competition is rather challenging, and teams need immense amounts of practice to do well.
Decathletes study 10 different subject areas all related to one central theme. This year's main focus was the French Revolution, and the 10 subjects were speech, interview, art, music, science, superquiz (social science), math, economics, language and literature and essay.
At the California Academic Decathlon Competition in March, all that hard work paid off. The MHS team walked away with first place overall in its division, third place in superquiz and 22 individual medals.
"I am extremely proud of them," said Coach Stegall, an English teacher at Marysville High. This is not the first team she has led to a championship; MHS has won three state championships in five years. However, each competition is equally exciting.
Team member Rachel Goodman, a junior, said that she really enjoyed state competition. "Academic decathlon helped me overcome my fear of tests, and I had a lot of fun meeting people during the weekend at state competition," she said.
Christian Lopez, another junior and team member, also liked meeting other decathletes. "I was an alternate this year," he said. "But I definitely look forward to competing next year."
State competition weekend involves four days of cramming, testing, giving speeches, running around the Hyatt with alpaca puppets and eating. ("They definitely eat well," Stegall said. Eating is an integral part of the academic decathlon experience.) Decathletes leave state with plenty of memories, several medals and anticipation for next year's competition.
Kristine Pinckney, a junior, says that she is looking forward to next year's practices and competitions. Her favorite aspects of academic decathlon include games of marshmallow dodgeball in school hallways during practice and all the jokes shared among team members. She won a math award at state competition this year and has bigger goals for next spring: "Next year, I'm getting a whole bunch of medals," she said.
Team members include captains Anna Wehrly and David Simeroth, Jordan "Fanny Blood Danger Winkelmann" Conneely, Ka Bao Her, Ian Crane, Rachel Goodman, Kristine Pinckney, Victoria Apperson, Christian Lopez, Elyssia Niswonger and myself. We plan to celebrate our victory with a trip to Fort Bragg.
Coach Stegall and our team would like to thank the community members and businesses for all their donations and support. "We're in a tough spot financially right now," Stegall said. "And we couldn't do this without your help."
Stegall and returning team members look forward to many successful competitions in the future. And to my teammates: You may be lame and overweight, but you are all stunningly handsome.