The Inola Seventh and Eighth Grade Academic Team, left to right: Radley Keener, Joseph Burton, Joshua Womack, Silas Smith, Cali McPheeters; front, Kaelin Harris.

The Inola Seventh and Eighth Grade Academic Team is headed to Washington DC, that is, if they can raise the funds.

This will be the third time the middle school team has attended the national competition in four years.

Last year they were state champions and came in fifth in the nation.

So far this academic year the team’s accomplishment’s include: Oklahoma Association for Academic Competition District runner-ups, area runner-ups and fourth place at the State Challenge of Champions.

“Three members of the team had never been on an academic team before and had to step up their game when experienced teammates had strep throat and the flu,” Academic Coach Carol Holland wrote in a statement to parents last month.

In January, the students competed at the Oklahoma Middle School Regional Science Bowl sponsored by the U.S. Department on Energy against larger and private schools.

In what was ultimately a statewide competition, they finished third.

The students have also successfully competed in several written test tournaments.

Inola received the first place Eighth Grade Sweepstakes Winner at Tahlequah last fall.

The students who placed in the top three per subject qualified for the Tournament of Champions held on April 5 in El Reno, Oklahoma. Out of 452 student from 49 Oklahoma schools, several Inola students finished in the top 10, with two placing in the top three.

“Attending Nationals would be the perfect ending to a tremendous year for this well-deserving group of students,” Holland said.

Team mom Angela Burton said, “I think it is amazing that for such a small school, these children continue to place year after year.”

The National Academic Tournament will be held in Washington DC from May 31 to June 2.

The fundraising goal is $7,000.