Through in-person and virtual events, all four Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) comprehensive high schools competed in the Orange County Academic Decathlon (OCAD) from January 25 through February 4, 2023. In recent years, the competition has been virtual due to the pandemic, but this year two events returned to in-person competition, including the Super Quiz Relay.
For 55 years, this event has invited public and private high school students to compete in a series of academic tests and demonstrations. The topics cover a variety of academic disciplines, including art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science, and speech. This year’s theme was, “The American Revolution and the New Nation.”
On Friday, February 10, it was announced that PYLUSD high schools earned top honors at the OCAD Awards Ceremony at Orange County College.
In Division 1, Valencia High School came in second place, earning the Tigers an invitation to the state competition, which is scheduled to take place March 11-26, 2023, in a hybrid format.
Esperanza High School also had a strong showing in Division 2 earning third place. Yorba Linda High School competed at the Division 2 level earning fifth place. El Dorado High School also participated in the competition. Many students earned individual medals. PYLUSD is proud of the efforts of all four schools!
Here are the individual results.
El Dorado High School
El Dorado is proud of their decathletes for working hard to prepare for the weekslong academic competition. The Golden Hawks would like to give a special shoutout out to their students who placed in various subject areas in this year’s competition including:
Tahlia Pompel – 2nd in science, 5th in social science and literature
Marian Isaac – 3rd in math, 4th in science, 5th in speech
Misbah Shamsi – 3rd in math
Dorothy Ortiz – 1st in literature and 5th in economics, interview, music, and social science
The team’s head coach is Language Arts teacher Amanda Dato.
Esperanza High School
Esperanza earned a total of 33 individual medals following the OCAD competition! The team earned 2nd place in the team Super Quiz event, where students answer timed questions in front of an audience, and 3rd place team in Division 2. Esperanza placed 9th overall in Orange County out of 35 schools. The team members and individual results from the competition are below:
Hayley Park (1 medal: 5th literature)
Jayden Maldonado-Rojas (1 medal: 3rd math)
Tyler Furuichi (1 medal: 3rd science)
Eric Alfaro (2 medals: 5th economics, 4th math)
Chessa Park (2 medals: 4th math, 3rd speech)
Matthew Hoang (4 medals: 2nd art, 2nd literature, 4th music, 4th social science)
Justine Koo (5 medals: 1st music, 2nd math, 2nd speech, 4th literature, 5th economics)
Emma Beelner (5 medals: 5th interview, 5th social science, 5th music, 5th literature, 3rd art)
Ella Reynoza (6 medals: 1st art, 2nd math, 4th economics, 4th music, 5th science, 5th social science)
Katie Flanagan (6 medals: 1st interview, 2nd economics, 3rd math, 4th art, 4th speech, 5th literature)
The team’s head coach is Science teacher Kressler Nguyen-Valdez.
Valencia High School
The VHS Academic Decathlon team placed second overall in Orange County and will be headed to the state competition in Santa Clara next month! Looking at results from across the state, Valencia is among the highest-scoring teams in California. The Tigers also placed second in the Super Quiz competition.
The team was led by captain Arushi Somani, who placed 10th overall out of over 300 competitors. Perseus Sannah (3rd in Varsity), Grace Cortez (6th in Varsity), Asher McCathern (5th in Scholastic), Aina Pan (6th in Scholastic) and Rini Dagli (8th in Scholastic) also had extremely strong showings.
Arushi also received the Peterson Scholarship, worth $1,500, awarded to the most valuable overall decathlete at the competition. This award is chosen based on performance, leadership, and personal growth. Starters Nathan Lee (junior), Saebyeok Keum (sophomore), and Liliana Gabriel-Rogel (senior) also received an array of medals, helping to propel the team to state.
The VHS team was rounded out by a supporting cast of decathletes, many of whom medaled in Division IV. These include:
Darshil Vaishinav (senior)
Vivek Shah (senior)
Mike Lai (junior)
Daeun Lee (junior)
Ryan Lin (junior)
Joseph Park (junior)
Aarushi Verma (junior)
Wynn Youm (junior)
The team’s head coach is history teacher Calen Rau and assistant coaches include Kaityln Reuter and Nathan Vega.
Yorba Linda High School
The Mustangs of Yorba Linda High earned a 5th place trophy for Division 2 in the Orange County Academic Decathlon competition and Super Quiz Challenge. Individual award winners from the varsity level were:
Eriana Song 5 medals including 1st place for Essay, 2nd place for music and 2nd for art
Marco Garcia-Blancas earned 3 medals including 2nd place for interview
Kendra Gominsky earned 3 medals
Brianne Burgess earned a 1st place medal as a Scholar Decathlete for math
Ryan Hernandez earned 3rd for speech and 4th for literature
For the Honors level:
Sophomore Kayla Seo earned 4 medals including 1st place for essay and 2nd for Speech
Sophomore Basim Jamal earned a 5th place medal for literature
Lauren Han earned a 5th place medal for literature
Tim Bang earned 3rd place medal for speech
Noelle Bulis earned a 4th place medal for Essay.
Overall, the Mustangs earned 25 Individual medals! The team’s head coach is history teacher Kelly Buchan.
You may read more about the Orange County Academic Decathlon courtesy of the Orange County Department of Education at https://newsroom.ocde.us/decathlon-dynasty-irvines-woodbridge-high-wins-sixth-orange-county-championship-in-seven-years/.