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 and Liam Kruse, both 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, Omaha 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, Omaha Duchesne; Varsity, Jacob Ramaekers, Mount Michael

Interview: Honors, Marissa Galardi, Lourdes Central; Scholastic, Jacob Bova, Mount Michael; Varsity, Walter Wear, Mount Michael

Language and literature: Honors, Marissa Galardi, Lourdes Central; Scholastic, Shane Fleming, Brownell-Talbot; Varsity, Michael Fischer, Mount Michael

Essay: Honors, Broden Kaps, Mount Michael; Scholastic, Luka Mixan, Mount Michael; Varsity, Walter Wear, Mount Michael

Art: Honors, Grant Moles, Johnson County; Scholastic, Luka Mixan, Mount Michael; Varsity, Michael Fischer, Mount Michael

Music: Honors, Henry O'Callaghan, Mount Michael; Scholastic, Jacob Bova, Mount Michael, and Phineas Silberling, Brownell-Talbot; Varsity, Walter Wear, Mount Michael

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

Economics: Honors, Grant Moles, Johnson County; Scholastic, Luka Mixan, Mount Michael; Varsity, Walter Wear, Mount Michael

Science: Honors, Trenton Plager, Humboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer, Nick Roush, Brownell-Talbot, and Kristin Sheridan, Omaha Duchesne; Scholastic, Luka Mixan, Mount Michael; Varsity, Walter Wear, Mount Michael

Humanities(combining art and music): Honors, Diva Agarwal, Brownell-Talbot; Scholastic, Tristan Peter, Lourdes Central; Varsity, Kevin Arul, Mount Michael

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

Hard science(combining math and science): Honors, Matthew Thiele, Mount Michael; Scholastic, Ryuta Kure, Mount Michael; Varsity, Kevin Arul, Mount Michael

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

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

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

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

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

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

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