Acadeca

The Lathrop High School U.S. Academic Decathlon team won its 12th state title at a competition in Anchorage on Saturday. From left: Kiana Ake, Daisy Morotti, Ben Pilon, Victor Zhou, Henry Haas, Kyle Van Hatten, Wesley Theis, Ayden Accola and Luke Martin. 

Lathrop High School became the winningest school in Alaska at the state Academic Decathlon competition held last week in Anchorage.

The school now has 12 state titles, breaking the record of 11 state titles that was held by West Valley High School, according to Chris Benshoof, statistics and engineering teacher and Lathrop’s AcaDeca coach for the last 19 years.

Tenth, 11th and 12th graders who competed on the nine-member team also broke records at the competition, which involves test taking, essay writing, interviews, speechmaking and a “Super Quiz” in which teams take turns solving multiple choice challenges in front of a live audience.

“We did pretty well across the board,” Benshoof said.

The team is comprised of Kiana Ake, Daisy Morotti, Ben Pilon, Victor Zhou, Henry Haas, Kyle Van Hatten, Wesley Theis, Ayden Accola and Luke Martin.

To be a decathlete, students must demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of subject areas, including math, economics, science, art and literature.

The state competition was held at the Hilton Anchorage and involved about 200 students from 10 schools, according to Benshoof.

Lathrop will represent Alaska at the U.S. Academic Decathlon Nationals in Anchorage from April 30-May 2.

In addition to medals and trophies, the decathletes won a combined $17,000 worth of scholarships, Benshoof said.

The Malemutes became the 2020 state AcaDeca champions with an overall score of 40,524.7, according to Benshoof. The team also won the Super Quiz, he said.

Van Hatten received the highest individual student score, 8,940.1 points, ever at the state competition, according to the coach.

Haas received the highest individual objective score of 6,400 points.

Morotti is the first Lathrop student to be on three state winning teams, Benshoof wrote in an email.

In all, the team members received 59 individual medals.

Benshoof said a regional competition was held in Fairbanks earlier this year, and Lathrop won that one too.

The team has been practicing up to five days a week since October, the coach said.

Here is a breakdown of individual team member achievements:

• Kyle Van Hatten: nine individual medals, 1st place Overall in Honors Division.

• Henry Haas: seven individual medals including 5 gold medals, 3rd place Overall in Honors Division.

• Victor Zhou: three individual medals, 4th place Overall in Honors Division.

• Wesley Theis: nine individual medals, 1st place Overall in Scholastic Division.

• Luke Martin: three individual medals, 4th place Overall in Scholastic Division.

• Kiana Ake: three individual medals including a gold medal in speech showcase.

• Daisy Morotti: nine individual medals including seven gold medals and a gold medal in speech showcase, 1st place Overall in Varsity Division.

• Ayden Accola: eight individual medals, 2nd place Overall in Varsity Division.

• Ben Pilon: nine individual medals, 1st place Overall in Alternate Division.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.