Math team captures second at Regional

Math club adviser Julie Kirkpatrick shows the certificate for the team’s second place finish at the Regional competition in Waverly on Nov. 9.

The math club’s five members started their competition season by competing in the Pat Fox Invitational in Waverly on Nov. 9. The math team’s next competition is Dec. 7.

They received second place overall, third place in team and team member Kevin Yang, a junior, had gotten 1st place individually in the 11th grade large school division. 

“If you do well at a competition, you can get an individual or team certificate. We currently have some team certificates in the display case in the math hall,” junior Emma Sliwinski said.

Math team coach Julie Kirkpatrick said, “The last competition, which was at Waverly, was definitely challenging. There were some really tough questions, and only three students could compete that day due to some schedule issues, but they still did great.¨

 After every competition, they prepare for their next one by using the questions they missed in their last competition. 

“The competitions consist of two individual rounds (the Sprint and Target rounds) and two group rounds (the Relay and Team rounds),” Sliwinski said.

These math competitions are sorted into two divisions. A small school division includes Waverly, Urbana and others, and a large schools division includes Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and more. 

Teams go to regional competitions every month, and if they qualify in those meets then they go on to State. 

“You try to qualify in the local meets, and then there is State that you prepare for if you qualified, which is pretty big, and if you get that, you go to Nationals,” junior Vikash Ayyappan said. 

To qualify for State, a member has to get more than 50 of the points in their round or do better than 80 percent of the contestants a round.

Some of the easiest questions they solve are ones that don’t require specialty knowledge, and the harder problems are the ones that might need to be solved by using obscure theorems.

“Every year the math students prepare for the AMC 12 (American Mathematics Competitions) and the AIME (American Invitational Mathematics Exam), which helps these kids qualify for the USAMO (United States of America Math Olympiad), which is a national math competition, Yang said.”

Last year the math team ended the season with a 5th place overall, which team members said they considered very good since large schools usually bring 20 to 30 kids, and Cedar Falls only brought six. 

But many of these students didn’t just join the math club for the competitions but because they have fun doing math and wanted to challenge themselves. 

“I joined the math team because I really enjoy challenging myself in math and wanted to see how I could improve in math club,” junior Anastasia Davidson said. 

Ayyappan said that she joined because “It is a fun and an easy way to get to State.”

Yang said, “Besides answering math problems, you get to have a fun experience as well as build new connections. You also get to travel around Iowa and maybe even Kansas City with the team.”

Those who are interested in joining math club and becoming a new member can contact Kirkpatrick about joining. 

“Anyone can join. You don’t have to be in an honors math class or anything,” Kirkpatrick said.

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