Grundy Center Community Schools

Academic Decathlon State Competition

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The 33rd annual Iowa Academic Decathlon state competition was held in Fort Dodge on March 2nd and
3rd. The team from Grundy Center – Dike New Hartford went in to the competition as the #4 qualifier.
They needed to overtake at least one more team to get to the podium, and breaking into the top three is
a tough bit of business. When the competition came to a close, GC-DNH had fought its way into third
Claiming a place in the top three is tough in any year, but two things made this year particularly
remarkable. First of all, the team was unexpectedly coached by committee. Early in the year, coach Don
Osterhaus was sidelined with health problems. He was able to coach through the first week in
November, but then it was time for the cavalry to come to the rescue. Assistant coach Renee Gingery
stepped up and organized the regional competition which was hosted by Grundy Center. It was a huge
undertaking and she got phenomenal support from GCHS administration, the staff and the community.
Former decathlete Blake Kelley volunteered to be an assistant coach. He scheduled and hosted after
school study sessions. Finally, math teacher Kevin Walters took over as the teacher of the Academic
Decathlon elective class. A true group effort!
The other challenge was that this team was young and inexperienced. Not a problem. Nobody told them
that they were supposed to struggle against the veteran teams, so they performed like veterans.
The Honors students were represented by two freshmen and a sophomore. Freshman Ella Hommel saw
to it that they weren’t taken lightly by scoring 6,154 points – a school record for a freshman! Felllow
freshman Jack Nolder and sophomore Alex Christie rounded out the Honors squad.
The Scholastic contingent was led by junior Zachary Delfs, one of the two state veterans on the team. He
got solid support from two seniors who were first time decathletes: Jake Bangasser and Jovis
Shoemaker. Jake made a splash by earning gold medals in Essay, Interview and Speech. His speech was
named the best small school speech of the competition, marking the third time that a Grundy Center
decathlete has earned that honor.
The charge to the podium was led by senior Varsity decathlete Noah Boquet who earned medals in eight
of the ten events. The team’s true veteran, he led GC-DNH in scoring and his total of 6,736 points was
the second highest score in this year’s Varsity division. Noah became just the fourth GC-DNH decathlete
to win medals in all four years of competing. Sophomore Parker Delfs pitched in with a medal of his
own. Senior Elizabeth Jones of DNH put up solid scores to support the Varsity decathletes.
Just to show that the cupboard won’t be bare
next year, junior Andy Cox and sophomore
Joseph Janssen earned recognition in their
competition as alternates. Andy finished first
among Scholastic alternates, and Joseph was
third in the Honors division.
There was one more award in store for GCCS.
Darla Hildebrand, mother of former decathlete
Dallas Hildebrand, was acknowledged for her
years of service as a speech and interview judge
at regional as state competitions.





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Academic Decathlon State Competition