Members of the Wilmot Union High School academic decathlon team showcase their new National Champion banner in the school commons (from left) Marcus Wolff, Ambriel Siggeman, Grady Duffy, Iain McCutchan, Austin Adam, Sean O’Dowd, Lydia Fielder and April Hedberg (Submitted/The Report).

By Jason Arndt
Staff Writer

Even after the Wilmot Union High School academic decathlon team swept the top three spots in each division, coach Don Serkowski said his squad was still at the edge of its seats as they awaited the unveiling of Division 2 national champion.

The waiting, he said, happened as United States Academic Decathlon officials were ready to announce the second-place team after the national finals in Bloomington, Minnesota, on April 27.

“We knew we didn’t want to hear any word beginning with a W, Wilmot or Wisconsin,” said Serkowski, whose team was in an intense competition with an Iowa school.

“Hearing (Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School) called out caused quite the emotional response around our table,” said Serkowski, as his team realized it won the title.

“Cheering and high fives weren’t appropriate options, so silent, small gestures and tears of joy were flowing,” he said. “It’s that unique moment when a team knows it’s accomplished its goal; it’s special to say the least.”

It became Wilmot’s third national crown in five years and first since 2016.

Annually, USAD selects a theme, which was “The 1960s: A Transformational Decade” in 2019.

As for the top three decathletes, who garner the most points in their respective categories, junior Marcus Wolff (honors), sophomore Iain McCutchan (scholastic) and senior Austin Adam (varsity) were the winners.

They also received $1,000 cash scholarships.

Each team enters nine total students in the three divisions based on grade-point average: honors (3.75-4.00), scholastic (3.0-3.749) and varsity (0.00-2.999).

Wolff anchors squad
Wolff, who not only notched the highest overall score, collected seven medals in the 10 events.

Additionally, for having the best score in the economics event, he won the B. Franklin Reinauer II economics prize, earning $250 in cash scholarships.

Serkowski said the team saw the junior as an anchor.

“The team built off him. He was so quick to reach an elite score early in the season that the others knew if they followed Marcus and upped their game, we’d have a shot at winning a state and national title.”

However, Serkowski said Wolff’s success was just one component of the team’s successful run.

He credited McCutchan, Adam and the four other decathletes who took home hardware.

“He can’t win all of these well-deserved, hard-earned individual medals, awards and scholarships if his team doesn’t make it as a whole to the nationals event,” Serkowski said.

Meanwhile, Adam picked up six medals and McCutchan added five.

The trio, according to Serkowski, helped set the tone for the rest of the squad.

“Iain especially was a surprise because he hadn’t even made the All-State team back in March,” Serkowski said. “Marcus and Austin were proven commodities that we knew had the potential to repeat their wins from state.”

Adam was the lone returning senior from last year’s state championship team.

Serkowski said Adam continuously expressed how pleased he was to join the team, which brought happiness among his peers.

“I believe his teammates and myself may be even more happy he chose to join us,” he said.

Medal Count
Marcus Wolff (honors), Iain McCutchan (scholastic) and Austin Adam (varsity) notched the top scores in their respective categories to garner an additional medal.

Honors Category
Marcus Wolff – gold in economics, music, science, social science; silver in art, literature, mathematics
Sean O’Dowd – bronze in literature

Scholastic Category
Iain McCutchan – gold in art, music, science; silver in social science; bronze in literature
Grady Duffy – gold in art, silver in literature, bronze in music
Lydia Fielder – silver in interview

Varsity Category
Austin Adam – gold in art, economics; silver in literature, music, science; bronze in social science
Ambriel Siggeman – silver in essay; bronze in economics and science


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