For Lilliana Koller, it was the moment she has been waiting for the last few years.
The Escalon High School senior set her sights on bringing home a medal from this year’s Academic Decathlon and she met that goal. Her efforts produced two medals, taking third place honors in both Speech and Math.
“I was like, ‘oh, my gosh’,” she said of the moment when she finally heard her name called for a medal. She has participated in the San Joaquin County Academic Decathlon during all four years of high school and this is the first year she has medaled.
“I didn’t expect to get it in math,” she admitted.
Senior Kaylee Weible was on the scoring team this year for the first time, moving up from her alternate position, and her medals were both for first place, in Speech and Math.
“When I gave my speech, I knew I did the best I could,” she said of feeling pretty good about the competition. “I waited four years for this chance.”
She also enjoyed the topic for her impromptu speech, which focused on being stubborn. It’s a trait, she said with a laugh, that she can relate to.
Earning a third place medal in Interview was senior Mitzy Saucedo.
“I didn’t really prepare, I wasn’t really thinking about it,” Saucedo said of her approach, which was to just be natural and not get nervous about the process. “I felt really confident.”
The three seniors also said they were excited to see their coach, EHS teacher George Megenney, inducted into the Academic Decathlon Hall of Fame this year for his dedication to and support of the program, and the team itself brought home top honors overall in the Club category.
And for Weible and Koller, each wearing two medals around their neck, they enjoyed the sound of medal on medal.
“I used to hate to hear it, I thought people were walking differently just to make that noise,” Koller said of past years’ aggravation in not bringing home any hardware.
This year that has changed just a bit … she now likes the ‘clink walk.’