Waukesha West decathlon team loses crown this year
Wolverines still qualify for nationals after second-place finish
The Waukesha West academic decathlon team's reign at the top is over.
New Berlin Eisenhower is wearing the crown this year, ending the Wolverines' remarkable 11-year run as state champions.
Winning six of the 10 subjects, the Lions racked up 48,427.7 points en route to its first-place finish in last week's two-day competition in Wisconsin Dells.
West, meanwhile, won four events to earn a second-place finish with 46,768 points.
Led by first-year coach Vince Ricco, West won the top team award in economics, mathematics, music and tied with Green Bay East for the top award in the interview category.
Individually, West had some impressive scores, highlighted by senior Thomas Redding's perfect score in the Honors category in mathematics.
Redding and Will Tyndall won the silver medal (second highest score in the division) for Honors and Scholastic, respectively. Matt Thaviphon took the bronze in Scholastic.
His mark tied the state record. Each school's team consists of nine students broken into three categories - Honors, Scholastic and Varsity.
West's students and coaches knew Eisenhower would be tough to overcome as it edged the Wolverines in the local and regional competitions leading up to the state competition.
Last year, the Lions also won the regional over West, but the Wolverines rebounded at state to earn a trip to nationals.
It didn't happen this year and Ricco used the word "disappointed" to describe the team's demeanor on the way home.
"The team is not happy," Ricco said. "Losing never sits well with true competitors, but we have to move on. We can recreate a million scenarios as to why it happened or how we could have prevented it, but none of that is real. The reality of Ike outperforming us is the only reality."
Luckily for West, its season is not over as it's still moving on to next month's national competition April 25 to 27 in Minneapolis, Minn.
Unlike past years where only the state champion qualified for nationals, the runner-up also qualified this year.
"Some of the students who feel as if they underperformed receive a mulligan," Ricco said. "We'll never turn one of those down."
West has advanced to nationals every year since 2002. While there, West will try to recapture some of the magic it has had over the last 11 years.
It won a national title in its first trip to nationals and has finished in the top-four every year since, including last year when it was fourth overall. It was also the top-scoring Division II team in the country.
Teams are broken into divisions based on enrollment. Division I teams consist of schools with enrollments greater than 1,500. Division II teams have enrollments between 750 and 1,500, while Division III has schools with enrollments less than 750.
The decathlon consists of six written tests (economics, music, social science, mathematics, language and literature and science) at the site of the national competition. The essay and art events will take place online before the competition in Minneapolis.
Students also partake in a speech and interview event as well as the Super Quiz.
Each event is evenly weighted at 1,000 points per competitor for a possible 10,000 point total.
However, only six scores per team are counted for the team ranking (top two Honor, top two Scholastic and top two Varsity).
Ricco is looking forward to how his team responds in the next month.
"We are going to use the same preparation with minor tweaks," Ricco said. "The main goal is to keep everyone moving. If you dwell on the loss, we won't get the work done that we need to in order to rock n' roll in Minneapolis. Our scores need to go up, but everyone feels that way. We can't wait to get back after it. The only way I would be disappointed in this team is if we mailed it in from here on out. So we didn't win state: fine. What can we do now?"
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