KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Schoenbar Middle School formed an academic pentathlon team this school year, and eight SMS students competed in a virtual state scrimmage on Jan. 13. 
Academic pentathlon is a program open to students competing in sixth through eighth grades. For the 2021-22 school year, the theme is "Water: A Most Essential Resource," according to online information from the Alaska Academic Pentathlon program. 
The pentathlon program ties five topics to each year's theme. This year, the science category has a focus on marine biology, while the students are studying "A Long Walk to Water" by author Linda Sue Park for the literature category.
For fine arts, students are examining the "focus on the impact of water on art and will explore the many ways water has influenced music," according to online materials from the program.
Students also are learning about how water has impacted human history, and the math program covers topics such as probability, permutations, combinations, statistics and algebra, according to the information.
"They took five tests in succession on the topics of literature, math, fine arts, science, and social science," wrote team coach and SMS teacher Dani Pratt to the Daily News on Friday. "Of the eight participants, seven placed in the competition." 
According to Pratt's information, the Schoenbar students who earned medals during Jan. 13's scrimmage included: 
• Gavin Bell, bronze in math.
• Jack Dunn, silver in math.
• Nevaeh Hastings, silver in literature and social science.
• Kalani Hauser, bronze in math.
• Lillian Pader, gold in literature and math.
• Sophia Pilgrim, bronze in math and silver in literature.
• Torran Urquhart, bronze in literature and silver in math. 
And on Thursday, four students — Bell, Hastings, Urquhart and teammate Tate Tucker — will take part in another virtual scrimmage.