Brenna Micek was feeling anxious Saturday afternoon as the 16-year-old waited to compete in the Super Quiz portion of the Nebraska Academic Decathlon.

“I’m so nervous right now, everything is spacing out,” said Brenna, a junior at Burke High School.

In the audience, Brett and Kris Fischer were on edge as they waited to watch their son, Michael, who is on the team for Elkhorn Mount Michael.

“Hopefully they’ll get state champion for small school, then they’ll be back-to-back-to-back champions,” Brett Fischer said.

The Fischers got their wish.

Both Mount Michael and Lincoln Pius X continued their run as state champions, both winning for the third straight year. As the large-school winner, Pius X will go on to the national competition in Alaska April 16-18.

In all, 155 students from 14 Nebraska schools competed in the state contest, held Friday and Saturday at Creighton University. They took tests, wrote essays and gave speeches.

“It gives students a chance to learn how to learn and a chance to broaden their academic horizons,” said John Anstey, executive director.

The Super Quiz, the only event open to the public, had three rounds, each with 10 multiple-choice questions. The quiz lasted about four hours.

That’s nothing, though, compared with the countless days students spent prepping for the competition.

Central High School students Gabrielle Rima, 17, Rachel Pierce-Cramer, 16, and Samuel Planck, 17, said they study five hours in class each week and 10 to 15 more outside of class, working both individually and in groups.

To prepare, students use study groups, quizzes and tests, and flashcards. Some students have been studying since last summer.

“It’s a lot of reading,” Planck said. “Our coach gives us a guide from Acadeca that’s a couple hundred pages.”

The students also praised their coach, Vicki Deniston Reed.

“Our coach is a great motivator,” Rima said. “I’ve learned a lot of aspects, and it’s 100 percent helped me on public speaking.”

Students compete at different academic levels based on GPA. The varsity level is for C students, scholastic for B students and honors for A students.

Darlene Jensen, who with her husband, Ric, has helped judge the event during its 31-year history, said the competition gets better every year.

“These kids do whatever it takes,” Darlene Jensen said. “It gives me hope for the future because these students really want to learn.”

The event is sponsored by the Optimist Clubs of Nebraska, with Creighton University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha serving as educational co-sponsors.

Here are the individual and team results:

LARGE SCHOOLS

Speech — Honors: Miles Kay, Omaha Central; Scholastic: Danielle Tibbels, Omaha Burke; Varsity: Gabrielle Rima, Omaha Central

Interview  Honors: Morgan Gallagher, Bellevue East, and Liam Kruse, Pius X; Scholastic: Henry Jaros, Pius X; Varsity: Samuel Planck, Omaha Central

Language and literature  Honors: Morgan Gallagher, Bellevue East, Miles Kay, Omaha Central, and Liam Kruse, Pius X; Scholastic: Danielle Tibbels, Omaha Burke; Varsity: Gabrielle Rima, Omaha Central

Essay  Honors: Miles Kay, Omaha Central; Scholastic: Henry Jaros, Pius X; Varsity: Samuel Planck, Omaha Central

Art Honors: Lisa Vu, Pius X; Scholastic: Henry Jaros, Pius X; Varsity: Cole Johnson, Pius X

Music  Honors: Catherine Krueger, Pius X, and Liam Kruse, Pius X; Scholastic: Danielle Tibbels, Omaha Burke; Varsity: Cole Johnson, Pius X

Mathematics Honors: Catherine Krueger, Liam Kruse and Lisa Vu, all Pius X (perfect scores); Scholastic: Henry Jaros, Pius X, and Walter Mantler, Omaha Burke; Varsity: Max Bozeman, Omaha Burke

Economics  Honors: Lisa Vu, Pius X; Scholastic: Michael Timmerman, Pius X; Varsity: Cole Johnson, Pius X

Science Honors: Kelly Speltz, Bellevue East; Scholastic: Henry Jaros, Pius X, Walter Mantler and Danielle Tibbels, both Omaha Burke; Varsity: Isaac Uttecht, Pius X

Humanities (combining art and music)  Honors: Reagan Scott, Pius X; Scholastic: Gabriel Clark, Pius X; Varsity: Max Eggerling, Omaha Burke

Soft science (combining economics and language & literature)  Honors: Reagan Scott, Pius X; Scholastic: Ian Ritchie, Omaha Central; Varsity: Bea Pfeiffer, Seward

Hard science (combining math and science)  Honors: Josh Hendrickson, Seward; Scholastic: Ian Ritchie, Omaha Central; Varsity: Max Eggerling, Omaha Burke, and Bea Pfeiffer, Seward

Top scorer by school: Kelly Speltz, Bellevue East; Thomas Matya, Gretna; Jill Ruane, Gross; Danielle Tibbels, Omaha Burke; Miles Kay, Omaha Central; Liam Kruse, Pius X; Ben Galusha, Seward

Top scorer by level: Honors, Liam Kruse, Pius X; Scholastic, Henry Jaros, Pius X; Varsity, Samuel Planck, Omaha Central

Top overall scorer: Liam Kruse, Pius X

Super Quiz: First, Pius X; Second, Gretna; Third, Omaha Central

Team final standings: First, Pius X; Second, Omaha Central; Third, Omaha Burke

Large Division awards: Top Medium School, Seward; Top Large Overall, Pius X

SMALL SCHOOLS

Speech — Honors, Abhinav Suresh, Brownell Talbot; Scholastic, Archana Varman, Duchesne; Varsity, Jacob Ramaekers, Mt. Michael

Interview — Honors, Marissa Galardi, Lourdes Central; Scholastic, Jacob Bova, Mt. Michael; Varsity, Walter Wear, Mt. Michael

Language and literature — Honors, Marissa Galardi, Lourdes Central; Scholastic, Shane Fleming, Brownell Talbot; Varsity, Michael Fischer, Mt. Michael

Essay — Honors, Broden Kaps, Mt. Michael; Scholastic, Luka Mixan, Mt. Michael; Varsity, Walter Wear, Mt. Michael

Art — Honors, Grant Moles, Johnson County; Scholastic, Luka Mixan, Mt. Michael; Varsity, Michael Fischer, Mt. Michael

Music — Honors, Henry O’Callaghan, Mt. Michael; Scholastic, Jacob Bova, Mt. Michael, and Phineas Silberling, Brownell Talbot; Varsity, Walter Wear, Mt. Michael

Mathematics — Honors, Grant Moles, Johnson County (perfect score); Scholastic, Max deMayo, Mt. Michael, Shane Fleming and Phineas Silberling, both Brownell Talbot; Varsity, Jacob Ramaekers, Mt. Michael, and Charles Vasa, Lourdes Central

Economics — Honors, Grant Moles, Johnson County; Scholastic, Luka Mixan, Mt. Michael; Varsity, Walter Wear, Mt. Michael

Science — Honors, Trenton Plager, HTRS, Nick Roush, Brownell Talbot, and Kristin Sheridan, Duchesne; Scholastic, Luka Mixan, Mt. Michael; Varsity, Walter Wear, Mt. Michael

Humanities (combining art and music) — Honors, Diva Agarwal, Brownell Talbot; Scholastic, Tristan Peter, Lourdes Central; Varsity, Kevin Arul, Mt. Michael

Soft science (combining economics and language & literature) — Honors, Matthew Thiele, Mt. Michael; Scholastic, Ryuta Kure, Mt. Michael; Varsity, Kevin Arul, Mt. Michael

Hard science (combining math and science) — Honors, Matthew Thiele, Mt. Michael; Scholastic, Ryuta Kure, Mt. Michael; Varsity, Kevin Arul, Mt. Michael

Top scorer by school: Julia Fiksinski, Brownell Talbot; Joseph Taylor, Cambridge; Kristin Sheridan, Duchesne; Trenton Plager, HTRS; Grant Moles, Johnson County; Marissa Galardi, Lourdes Central; Broden Kaps, Mt. Michael

Top scorer by level: Honors, Grant Moles, Johnson County; Scholastic, Max deMayo, Mt. Michael; Varsity, Jacob Ramaekers, Mt. Michael

Super Quiz: First, Lourdes Central; Second (tie), Johnson County and Mt. Michael; Third (tie), Cambridge and HTRS

Team final standings: First, Mt. Michael; Second, Lourdes Central; Third, Johnson County

Small Division awards: Top Very Small School, Lourdes Central; Top Small Overall, Mt. Michael

Contact the writer: 402-444-1304, news@owh.com

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