Woodbridge High in Irvine takes third place in the California Academic Decathlon

Woodbridge High's Academic Decathlon team

Irvine’s Woodbridge High School has placed third in the California Academic Decathlon.

Fresh off winning its fifth Orange County Academic Decathlon in six years, the nine-member squad from Woodbridge finished the state-level contest with 44,243.2 points, according to results announced this month. That was enough to beat out all but two of 84 schools.

“I’m very proud of this team in reaching team goals and striving to be the best that they could possibly be,” coach Mike Nakaue said. “They bonded and had purpose and in the process made lifelong friends.”

Woodbridge, which placed seventh last year, was represented by Risha Bhat, Iris Shen, Nathan Spear, Nathan Gov, Melissa Tsaowimonsiri, Victory Sun, Jason Shih, Melvin Wu and Inaya Nayaz.

Perennial powerhouse Granada Hills Charter High finished first overall in California with 51,949.5 points and will look to defend its national championship in a virtual competition that runs from April 20 through April 22. El Camino Real Charter High School took second place with 50,815.1 points.

For the second straight year, 10 Orange County high schools were invited to compete in the 2022 California Academic Decathlon based on their overall team scores at the county competition. 

In Division 2, Valencia High finished third with 35,446.3 points while Irvine’s University High came in fifth with 35,054.3 points. In Division 3, Trabuco Hills High School placed second with 33,248.2 points, and Esperanza High was fifth with 32,111.8 points.

Held across the country at the county, state and national levels, Academic Decathlons feature nine-member teams competing for the highest scores on a series of multiple-choice exams, speeches, interviews and essay assignments. 

Each squad must have three “Honor” students (those with GPAs of 3.80 and above), along with three “Scholastic” students (GPAs of 3.20 to 3.79) and three “Varsity” students (GPAs of 3.199 and below). While the pandemic necessitated some adjustments, decathlons typically culminate with the popular Super Quiz Relay, which has the feel of a live sporting event.

This year’s theme has been “Water: A Most Essential Resource.”