Highland Park decathlon team moves on despite devastating mix-up

HIGHLAND PARK — There was much to celebrate after Franklin High School students emerged from the California Academic Decathlon competition in March with second place, qualifying the team to compete in an online version of the national competition. But the victory was short lived. A day after the state award ceremony, the California decathlon announced that a mistake had been made in tabulating the scores. Franklin actually placed third behind Marshall High of Los Feliz. Third place is good but not good enough to compete in the national online decathlon. Franklin students, however, were not ready to stop competing.

Officials at the state decathlon said the score of one of the Marshall students had been left out in tabulating the results. “It’s with great sadness knowing the impact this makes on teams, schools, its communities and the larger [California Academic Decathlon] organization and we are very sorry the error was not found before the awards celebration began,” said the organization in a statement.

Members of the Franklin team were obviously left devastated by the mix-up that shut them out of the national competition. “To have it taken away from us, it sends the message that you can work as hard as you want and in the end, it can still be taken away from you,” 16-year-old team member Alex Munoz told the Daily News.

But the Franklin students were not ready to let their hard work go to waste. Instead of competing as a team, Franklin’s decathletes decided to compete as individuals during the national competition in Alaska, the school’s decathlon coach Samuel Kullens told the Daily News.

The trip to Anchorage at the end of April turned out to be worth it for the Franklin decathletes. According to a posting on the Highland Park Neighborhood Council Facebook page, the Franklin students returned to Highland Park with 60 medals.

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