21 schools battled in decathlon


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SAN DIEGO — Good Shepherd Catholic School won first place overall in the regional Catholic Academic Junior High Decathlon, and went on to represent the Diocese of San Diego at the national level.

The regional competition, which included 10-member teams from 21 local Catholic schools, took place March 4 at St. Augustine High School.

“I think the overall performance of the (Good Shepherd) team speaks to the effort and dedication these students put in,” said Matthew Palpal-Latoc, head coach for the past five years.

“We, as a school, start our preparation in late August and meet about once a week until the competition,” he said, “but many of these students spend countless hours studying at home individually or on group calls.”

The coach, who serves as director of athletics at Good Shepherd, said the team reacted to its victory with “smiles and obviously happy tears.”

In addition to Good Shepherd, the other overall winning teams included: St. Michael’s School (2nd), Stella Maris Academy (3rd), St. Didacus School (4th), St. Patrick School, Carlsbad (5th), and Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy, Calexico (6th).

The teams competed in nine subject areas – Current Events, Fine Arts, Math, Literature, Science, English, Religion, Social Studies and Logic – as well as in a “Super Quiz.”

“The dedication, hard work and perseverance displayed by our decathletes are truly commendable, and their achievements are a source of pride for Catholic education in the Diocese of San Diego and beyond,” said Dr. Julie Cantillon, associate superintendent for the Diocese of San Diego’s Catholic schools, who serves as chair of the National Catholic Academic Junior High Decathlon Executive Committee.

She said, “Good Shepherd Catholic School deserves special recognition for their outstanding performance, which serves as a testament to their skills, teamwork, and commitment to the mission of (the academic decathlon).”

In the national competition, held online March 25, Good Shepherd was set to face off against the champions of 13 other regional competitions and the top two teams from an independent league that includes teams from throughout the country. The results of the national competition were not known at press time.

For more information about the Catholic Academic Junior High Decathlon, visit For winners of the regional competition, visit

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