Lubbock High School Academic Decathlon team advances to nationals

Local News

The Lubbock High School Academic Decathlon team is heading to nationals representing the great State of Texas in April. They’ve been working tirelessly since last May to get to this point and they said they’re ready for the challenge. 

“It was surreal, we could not believe that happened. This isn’t something that happens in Lubbock,” Esteban Romero, LHS senior Academic Decathlon team member. 

They went from regionals, to state, and now, on the road to nationals. 

“It was definitely a result of a lot of hard work, getting up early the day of. Especially the weeks and the month leading up to the state competition. I was the only thing on my mind,” said Jake Watts, LHS senior Academic Decathlon team member.

“We heard we got nationals, we just all jumped up and started screaming. And it’s such an amazing opportunity for us to just try something new and keep competing,” said Selena Sheng, LHS junior Academic Decathlon team member.

This competition is one of the most prestigious programs a high school student can be a part of, with seven multiple choice tests, two performance events and an essay.

“We have seven of what we call objective tests. That’s math, science, social science, economics, literature, music and art. All of those focus on Africa,” said Romero. 

“This program allows students to become the most well-rounded they can become,” said Nathan Timmons, Academic Decathlon coach and LHS English teacher.

They know winning state is only the beginning.

“I tell them, there is only one team between you and a state championship, and it’s you. If you can do the best that I know you can, this isn’t even going to be a question. That’s the exact thing I plan on telling them at nationals,” said Timmons. 

The following is a statement from Lubbock ISD: 

The Lubbock High School academic decathlon team will be representing Texas at the national competition after a record-breaking performance at the medium school state championship last weekend in Frisco. The team broke a school record on the way to the medium school state title and earned the highest score across all divisions to advance to the national meet. The Westerners previously competed at the national meet in 2002.

As part of Sunday’s awards ceremony, Estacado coach Sarah Harris was honored as the Texas Small School Coach of the Year. Harris is one of the longest tenured coaches in state with 22 years of experience. Her teams have qualified for state for 20 of those 22 years. She received a glass plaque and a $1,000 award as part of her recognition. The Estacado team finished fourth in the state in the small school division for the third year in a row.

Students from every Lubbock ISD high school team received individual medals, with four LHS students also receiving state scholarships as a result of finishing in the top five overall places in their divisions. Jake Watts led the way by earning 9,403.4 points, the highest score in Texas this year and the second highest in the history of Texas Academic Decathlon state competition since the 1980s.

Coronado High School 
19th in Medium School Division (39,243.6 points)

Matthew Albrecht (Varsity) – 1st in Interview
Alissa Cisneros (Honors) – 1st in Interview
Natalia Gonzalez (Honors) – 1st in Interview
Kate McGough (Honors) – 2nd in Literature
Cody Wilhelm (Scholastic) – 2nd in Speech

Estacado High School 
4th in Small School Division (35,460.9 points)

Tru DeLeon (Scholastic) – 1st in Art and Essay; 2nd in Speech; 3rd in Music and Social Science
Jaden Salter (Honors) – 2nd in Literature

Lubbock High School 
Medium School STATE CHAMPION (52,206.2 points) – $1,200 state scholarship per student

Advances to Nationals as highest-scoring school across all divisions

Maria Beusterien (Scholastic) – 4th Overall Scholastic ($1,000 state scholarship); 2nd in Essay, 3rd in Literature and Science
Hunter Dortch (Varsity) – 4th Overall Varsity ($1,000 state scholarship); 2nd in Interview, Literature, and Math
Joe McCarty (Honors) – 2nd in Math; 3rd in Literature
Esteban Romero (Varsity) – 1st Overall Varsity ($3,500 state scholarship); 1st in Art, Economics, Literature, and Music; 2nd in Math, Science, and Social Science
Elijah Rosas (Scholastic) – 2nd in Economics and Science
Selena Sheng (Honors) – 2nd in Literature and Social Science; 3rd in Speech
Phyllis Zhang (Honors) – 1st in Math; 2nd in Literature, 3rd in Economics
Jake Watts (Scholastic) – 1st Overall Scholastic AND highest scoring student in the state across all divisions ($3,500 state scholarship); 1st in Art, Economics, Math, Science; 2nd in Music, Social Science, Speech; 3rd in Literature

Monterey High School 
9th in Medium School Division (44,311.2 points)

Chapman Lindsay (Honors) – 2nd in Literature
Ethan Morgan (Honors) – 1st in Interview
Sofia Morris (Varsity) – 3rd in Literature
Nick Watson (Honors) – 1st in Social Science; 2nd Math and Music; 3rd in Art, Literature, Science

Talkington School for Young Women Leaders 
23rd in Medium School Division (37,152.1 points)

Catherine Rosales (Honors) – 1st in Interview; 3rd in Social Science

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