The academic decathlon teams from Nimitz and Irving are headed to state! Both teams advanced following a strong performance at the Region IX competition, held virtually January 28 and 29. Nimitz earned a bronze finish, barely edging Irving, who placed fourth overall.

“This region is one of the best in the state, with 14 of the 27 teams scoring high enough to advance to state,” says Greg Thomson, Nimitz academic decathlon head coach. 

Nimitz is currently ranked #12 in the state, and Irving is #13. Both teams will compete at the state level in February. The essay contest is February 9, then both teams will travel to San Antonio for the in-person state meet February 23-27. 

Learn more about each school’s performance below. 



Nimitz’s speech and interview teams earned second place in the region. As has been the case all year, Estrella Barrera led the Nimitz team. Barrera was the #4 overall Honors student in the region, receiving silver medals in interview and literature, and bronze medals in essay and art. Julie Rodriguez had a strong showing, placing #6 as the overall Honors student and receiving the gold medal in interview (with a perfect score), and bronze medals in essay, speech and social studies. Jennifer Guardiola was the team’s top Scholastic student, earning the gold medal in math, silver in essay and bronze in both speech and interview. Logan Jones and Isamar Ibarra earned silver medals in math, while Edubiel Hernandez Garcia took home silver in economics. Paola Villanueva and Lexie Santoya also contributed greatly to the team effort.

“We are ecstatic with the performance of the team,” says Thomson. “In December, it was estimated we were approximately #25 in state, and Irving outscored us by 2,800 points. Nimitz was the most improved team in the state since that time, increasing our score by just over 2,600 points, while most teams dropped in score due to more difficult tests. We are less than 600 points out of the top ten, so our goal is to be the 27th Nimitz Academic Decathlon team to finish in the top 10 in state out of the last 35 years.” 



The Irving academic decathlon team earned 17 medals en route to their fourth-place finish and seventh-straight state qualification. Nicholas Perez – who won first in art and music, second in economics and essay, and third in science – was awarded the #2 Scholastic student in the region. Isaac Arredondo – who earned a perfect score in interview to take first and also won the gold in art, and second in science and music –  ranked fourth among all Varsity students in the region.

Levi Seymour earned silver medals in literature and speech, while teammate Josue Celis earned a gold in literature, silver in essay and bronze in economics. Cristian Donjuan added a silver in essay to the team’s medal count. Other members contributing to the team’s success were Diana Amaya, Kevin Tran, Emily Vasquez and Trey Trip.

“Prior to this seven-year streak, Irving had never advanced to the state tournament,” says James Newman, Irving academic decathlon head coach. “Every team member contributed strongly to our overall team score and efforts, so we thank the entire team.”


Good luck to the academic decathlon students advancing to the state competition in February.