Academic Decathlon Makes School History

Abbey Mommaerts, Author

The Preble Academic Decathlon team (pictured on the left), is a team that for the second time in school history is competing in the National competition on April 23, 24, and 25.

In order from left to right, these students are Abbey Mommaerts (SR), Kova Bronander, Adam Brunner (SO), Ian Hoppe (JR), Sean O’Leary (JR), Kylee Dorner (SR), Marissa Blazer (SR), Payton Wartenberg (JR), and Samantha Hoefs (SR). Preble is the only school in the GBAPS area to go to this National competition; but what does it mean? What is Academic Decathlon, and how does it impact our school? To the reader and The Buzz audience, Academic Decathlon sounds nothing like the average club, having the word “academic” in the club name. 


Academic Decathlon is a club (explained in an earlier article by former member Alexis Peterson) that competes against other schools, firstly in the Local competition where it’s only a few close schools. Up next is the regional competition, in which Preble came out on the number one spot– on top. This moved the team on to the State competition, where they ranked third in Division 1, and first in Division IV. Because they were the champs of Division IV, they moved on to the National competition. Now, to finally explain what this club is.


The team has a 3-inch binder of material to study on a certain topic. These topics are music, economics, art, math, science, literature, social science.  This year the main focus was “Water: A Most Essential Resource”. Each test at a competition is 20 minutes in length, 50 questions each (except for the math test– which is 35 questions in 30 minutes; the math portion involves calculus, statistics, and algebra). An essay for the regional and state competition is written upon a certain prompt about 2 weeks before the testing date. There are other subjects as well– a three and a half minute prepared speech, an impromptu speech following that (lasts about one minute and thirty seconds), and another event that is the interview. Lastly, there is the super quiz: 5 minutes, 5 questions. Seems difficult, right? It sure is! And so for this team to be going to Nationals, for the second time in school history, mind you, is crazy. The last time the team went to Nationals was in 2019, starring Rebeccah Pepper, Sebastian Guo, and other insanely talented and smart Decathleets.


In an interview with Kova Bronander, one of the students in the Scholastic category, I asked their feelings on the team going to Nationals. “With it being my first year on the team, it’s been an incredible opportunity and the whole team feels like a family.” They say, “I’m so happy I took the opportunity to join this team and the adventures along with it. I believe it’s worth the effort everyone puts into it, and going to Nationals is a huge success for everyone.”


You may be wondering how these people are chosen. There are 3 categories of team members on this team: Honor, Scholastic, and Varsity. The Honor category is composed of 3 members that have a 3.80-4.00 GPA. The Scholastic includes 3 members that have a GPA of 3.20-3.799. Lastly, the Varsity category is 3 members that have a GPA of 0.00-3.199. That makes nine people in total on this team. These members are hand-picked by Gordon Kendall of the science department and Kristin Kreuser of the ELA department. Want to be a part of this wonderful group? Talk to the coaches! 


Lastly, the impact this club has on the school. It doesn’t seem like much, but the Academic Decathlon team is a representation of how awesome Preble truly is. While this school may have its ups and downs, there are always going to be skilled and intelligent individuals. This club alongside many others represent this school and how it will make an impact on the world. These are the underdogs of Preble, the ones who will always be willing to help themselves and others. 


Good luck, Academic Decathlon!

The team poses with their coaches.