Top scoring Hawks on road to nationals
The Bishop Hendricken High School Academic Decathlon team amassed one of the highest total scores in the competition’s 33-year history Sunday at the statewide event at the Knight Campus of CCRI. Hendricken bested their winning score from last year by 3,065.7 points, and now aims to compete for a position on the podium at the national competition April 28 to 30th in Anchorage, Alaska.
In comparison, if Hendricken had scored similarly at the national competition last year, it would have won the first prize for division II schools. The team is pushing to bring a Rhode Island team into the national spotlight for the first time this year, and senior Geoffrey Boyer exemplified this by saying, “Individual medals are great, but they really mean nothing. It’s all about the team coming together.”
The participants are tested in 10 subject areas: art, music, social science, interview, essay, speech, mathematics, economics, science and literature. The subjects are primarily focused around one theme, with this year’s theme being India. Math, essay and speech are excluded from the main theme. The winner is decided by a team’s total score.
The Hendricken team, made up of eight seniors and a junior, scored 44,591.6 points, out of a possible 60,000 points. Hendricken came in first out of 17 teams, with East Greenwich High School second, and the Wheeler School third. Hendricken stole the show winning eight out of the nine top scorers’ awards. Hendricken’s Miles Temel also earned the only perfect score of 1,000 points in interview. When asked how they managed to do so well this year, senior Christian Wells said, “The lucky socks pulled through.” Every year the team’s coach, Sister Carol Ann Murray, buys socks for ever member of the team. Due to the team’s success in recent years the socks have been dubbed the key to success.
The Hendricken team totaled 53 medals on the night.
Hendricken also won the day’s Super Quiz. The Super Quiz is a timed multiple choice team competition. Three teams of three, made up of students in various divisions based on GPA, are sent down to represent each school. Each set of students will answer 12 questions, with five choices and 10 seconds on the clock. The questions covered every written topic under the India theme, except for math. Hendricken came out on top, scoring 31 out of a possible 36 points.
The team fully credits their performance to their coach. Murray, a chemistry teacher at Bishop Hendricken, has now coached the team to its sixth straight state championship. Murray, when asked why her team did so well this year, said, “This team gelled.”
Senior Riley Chabot, the night’s highest scorer with 8.819.7 points, had only praise for her, saying, “Sister is extraordinary. For as much time and effort as we, the team, put in, our success is inexorably linked to her relentless commitment. Coaching this team is one of her passions, and her enthusiasm invigorates the whole team and makes us strive to be better.”
Coaching has always been a key piece for the Hendricken community, and Hendricken’s Principal Joseph “Jay” Brennan, who was in attendance Sunday, said, “Hendricken is known for winning. This year we won our sixth Super Bowl title in a row, and now we have our sixth Decathlon title in a row. In the end, on both sides, it comes down to coaching. Sister Carol Ann brings a great showing for the school.”
On May 19 at a reception with Governor Gina Raimondo, Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello will continue the tradition of awarding every senior who earned a gold medal a $500 scholarship. All eight of Hendricken’s seniors will be awarded the scholarship.
Sunday’s competition also marked the last time Warwick Vets will be represented at the competition. The school will close this year as a result of consolidation.
Vets finished eighth place overall. Vets’ Tram Nguyen earned a bronze medal in essay, and Cassidy Melo earned silver in interview and gold in speech. Nguyen said, “It feels really good to medal here. It’s my senior year, my last year at the school, and it’s the school’s last year.”
Vets’ coach Steven Belanger was proud of his team for pushing through to the end this year, despite it being the school’s last year and the increased difficulty brought with the India theme.
Teams from Pilgrim and Toll Gate also competed. Toll Gate’s Isaiah Jackson earned bronze medals in social science and math, and Grace Reed won a silver medal in interview.