Whitney Young Magnet High School Takes Second Place in National Decathlon Championship

Whitney Young Magnet High School Takes Second Place in National Decathlon Championship


Whitney Young Magnet High School Takes Second Place in National Decathlon Championship (Chicago, IL) — Whitney M. Young Magnet High School’s decathlon team took second place over the weekend at the rigorous and highly-competitive United States Academic Decathlon National Competition in Frisco, Texas, earning one of the school’s highest scores to date at the national level. Of note, both Lane Tech College Prep High School and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences also participated at the national level in Texas but in a separate division with Lane Tech taking second place in that division and both schools bringing home individual gold medals as well.

During the U.S. Academic Decathlon, each student competes in 10 events both objective and subjective: Art, Economics, Literature, Math, Music, Science, Social Science Essay, Interview, and Speech. Team scores are then calculated using the top two individual scores from each division.

Earlier this school year, the Dolphins, the city champions who represented Illinois in the national competition, landed the school’s 20th consecutive state championship win at the 2023 Illinois Academic Decathlon State Competition with Lane Tech College Prep and Amundsen High School taking second and third place.

At the national competition, Whitney Young 11th and 12th graders Amber Sun, Leon Cao, Om Raizada, Renee Picard, Zara Khan, Gabriel Ratner and Daniel Lee all won gold medals across multiple subjects while Juniors Yiheng Gao and Taihei Eastwood earned silver and bronze medals in Social Science, Music, Math, and Economics. Whitney Young has participated in the state competition for nearly 40 years, earning the State title for the past 20 years and rising to the rank of second in the United States three times, in 1995, 2007 and 2012.

“Chicago Public Schools is extremely proud of all our students who qualified to participate in this rigorous national competition and then went on to show the nation what our students can do,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “Being recognized as among the top teams in the country is a monumental accomplishment and I want to extend my congratulations to the Office of Teaching and Learning, our dedicated high school principals, faculty, as well as parents, and, most importantly, these amazing decathletes.”

Whitney Young decathlon coach Ben Gucciardi hopes his team revels in the historic achievement.

“I am extremely proud of our team for posting Whitney Young’s best national Academic Decathlon performance in recent memory,“ said Gucciardi. “While a national championship remains elusive, Whitney Young AcaDec remains steadfast as ever to bringing one to Chicago, and more importantly to supporting, challenging and celebrating the brilliant, talented and diverse young people of our school and city.”

Lane Tech College Prep High School took second in Division IV of the competition after taking second place in the state competition in March. It was the second time in the past 40 years that Lane Tech was invited  to send a team to the Nationals competition and the first time they have participated in person. Lane Senior Oscar Stennes was recognized as the top scoring decathlete in Division IV making him the Division IV National Champion, as well as the Honors Division overall Gold Medalist. Lane Sophomore Elijah Jackson also received the award for the highest score and overall Gold Medal in the Scholastic Division for Division IV.


“What a historic moment for our school and for these students,” said Lane Coach David Campos. “It has been an absolute labor of love for all of us. Chicago Public Schools has one of the most competitive programs in the nation and it is exciting beyond words to have the opportunity to showcase the hard work and dedication of each of our students. This program at its core takes some of the best and brightest students in the city and nation and pushes them to heights unimaginable while they become a team and a family.”

Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences also participated in the Division IV competition, marking the second time the school has been invited to the competition but the first time they participated in person. Sophomore Catherine Lyons earned a gold medal in the Essay competition.

“I am so very proud of each and every one of my hardworking and talented decathletes and so grateful to be a part of this historic and incredible journey,” said Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences Coach Marianne Doulgeris.

CPS Students whose teams did not advance to the national competition also had the opportunity to compete as individuals in nationals online. Additional information can be found on the United States Academic Decathlon website.

Lane Tech College Decathletes: Oscar Stennes, Aidan Lau, Mike Majewski, Elijah Jackson, Samantha Serrano, Iris Finelli, Michaela Wagner, Charlotte Cornell, and Nemo Kim.

Whitney Young Magnet High School Decathletes: Amber Sun, Leon Cao, Zara Khan, Gabriel Ratner, Renee Picard, Yiheng Gao, Taihei Eastwood, Daniel Lee, Om Raizada, Rhian Dixon-Yearby, Helen Kuenster, Jakob Caisip, Mathilda Taufmann, Derrick Jiang and Sebastian Thompson.

Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences Decathletes: Catherine Lyons, Grace Murphy, Elijah Spencer, Nicolette Carodine, Liam Curtin, Maggie Shannon, Michael Heenan, LaMariah Jackson, and Ashley Upchurch.

Whitney Young Magnet High School Takes Second Place in National Decathlon Championship

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published.