Another chapter of the annual El Dorado County Academic Decathlon was logged into the entry books, showcasing the talent of local high school students in a variety of disciplines. Oak Ridge High School emerged as the victor, securing a spot in the upcoming state competition scheduled for March.

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The regional competition featured intense showdowns between El Dorado, Ponderosa, Union Mine, and Oak Ridge high schools. The day was not only a test of academic excellence but also marked a significant paradigm shift for the event. To include all students who wanted to compete, the distinction of “alternate” decathletes was eliminated this year, allowing every student to participate in all ten events and be eligible for individual medals. This change was made possible by a substantial increase in volunteers who dedicated their time to make the event a success. 

The following organizations helped to recruit volunteers; the Rotary Club of Placerville, Hands4Hope, El Dorado Union High School District (EDUHSD) Board of Trustees, El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE), Ag in the Classroom, Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil’s Office, and the California Retired Teachers Association.

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Dr. Ed Manansala, County Superintendent of Schools, expressed gratitude, stating, “We are privileged to reside in a community dedicated to the well-being, potential, and success of our students. Numerous individuals have generously volunteered their time and effort to facilitate this endeavor. I extend my appreciation to the EDCOE and EDUHSD team members, as well as the coaches and volunteers involved.”

Amid the heated competition, Oak Ridge High School’s team, led by coach Jeff Hassian, claimed victory not only in the overall school standing but also in the Super Quiz Relay. “Our students’ dedication and hard work have truly paid off. This win isn’t just about medals; it’s a testament to their commitment to excellence and the spirit of teamwork. I’m incredibly proud of each one of them.” shared Hassian, expressing his pride in the team’s accomplishments.

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The theme of this year’s Academic Decathlon, “Technology & Humanity,” has been a focal point of study for decathletes since the summer. Coaches, including David Conrad for El Dorado, Joseph Beatty for Ponderosa, Stephanie Luther for Union Mine, and Jeff Hassian for Oak Ridge, navigated the challenge of preparing students alongside their regular teaching duties.

On the competition day, the community came together, with many volunteers, presenters, and each school leaders in attendance. This competition is administered annually by the El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE) and promotes academic excellence and social-emotional benefits to team members. The Kiwanis Club of Placerville provided a hearty hamburger lunch, and all attendees were left impressed by the dedication and knowledge displayed by the decathletes.

2024 El Dorado County Academic Decathlon winners:

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Social Science

VARSITY

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Bronze –  Tie: Landen Cartinella (Ponderosa), Cherian George (Oak Ridge)

Silver –  Tie: Kaitlyn Reed (Union Mine), Peyton Oxford (Ponderosa)

Gold –  Shivani Padiyar (Oak Ridge)

SCHOLASTIC

Bronze –  3 Way Tie Kathryn Sarlatte (El Dorado), Ria Sahota (Oak Ridge), Chantilly Lamson (Oak Ridge)

Silver –  Lyssa Hartley  (Union Mine)

Gold –  Brody Blumberg (Union Mine)

HONORS

Bronze –  Sophia Sumimoto (Oak Ridge)

Silver –  Katie Fichtner (Ponderosa)

Gold –  Ethan Pham (Oak Ridge)

Science

VARSITY

Bronze – Kaitlyn Reed (Union Mine)

Silver –  Chase Tobey (Ponderosa)

Gold –  Moniicaa Kishore Kumar (Oak Ridge 

SCHOLASTIC

Bronze –  Kathryn Sarlatte (El Dorado)

Silver –  Tie: Kaushik Seela (Oak Ridge) Jagger Edmundson (Ponderosa)

Gold –  Natalie Stephens (Ponderosa)

HONORS

Bronze –  Tie: Ethan Pham (Oak Ridge), Ariana Thakur (Oak Ridge)

Silver –  Erin Levinson (El Dorado)

Gold –  Katie Fichtner (Ponderosa)

Math

VARSITY

Bronze –  Cherian George  (Oak Ridge)

Silver –  Landen Cartinella (Ponderosa)

Gold –  Tie: Tarika Kahlon (Oak Ridge), Shivani Padiyar (Oak Ridge)

SCHOLASTIC

Bronze –  Kathryn Sarlatte (El Dorado)

Silver –  Brody Blumberg (Union Mine)

Gold –   Keith Tacata  (Oak Ridge)

HONORS

Bronze –  Jingyao Zhang (Oak Ridge)

Silver – Ethan Pham (Oak Ridge)

Gold – Andrew Ni  (Oak Ridge)

Dina Gentry
Author: Dina Gentry