LA County to California: Academic Decathlon Going Places!


Mt. SAC ECA’s Academic Decathlon after placing 11th in the Regional Competition. Photo by Ms. Maggiore.

The 2021-2022 school year marks the first year of the Academic Decathlon team competing in a regional competition. It was their first year competing; it was also the first time that they made it to the state competition.

“I was just surprised because we were surely at a disadvantage,” said Decathlon Advisor Mr. Janadi. “We started so late, and we were [still] looking for decathletes until May… We didn’t have a full team. But that just showed how hard all the decathletes worked.”

Sophomore Lauren Diep competing in the Honors 3rd Division during Regionals. She won gold in the essay event, ranking fourth in the competition, as well as bronze in social science. Photo by Mr. Janadi

The United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) is a competition composed of ten events. Seven out of the ten events cover art, economics, math, music, literature, science, and social science: the remaining three events test speech, interview, and essay skills. There is also a Super Quiz event which is a relay covering questions about the test subjects.

“Each event of the Decathlon competition has its own difficulties,” said sophomore Decathlon member Lauren Diep, “In covering a variety of details incorporated within the provided resource guides, we have to be careful in reviewing and understanding even the most minuscule factors of each topic.”

During the State Competition, senior Kenneth Pham won a silver medal in Honors Math, freshman Annika Wotherspoon won a silver medal in Varsity Math, and Junior Angel Mancinas won numerous medals in Varsity Math, Economics, and Art.

“When I heard that I won multiple medals, I was very shocked,” commented Angel, “I did not expect that at all… This definitely made me feel like the time I spent studying paid off, and it was all worth it.”

In the Regional Competition, Decathlon placed first out of 12 schools. At the State Competition, they placed 10th out of 26 schools.

“I think that the team did remarkably for the amount of time and experience that I had as a coach. I’ve never done this before, so a lot of stuff I was uncertain on,” noted Mr. Janadi. “[It] just showed how hard the team worked and how much they studied, how committed they were. Even when we didn’t have a full team, I think they really deserve great accolades.”