March 24, 2019

Winners Add Up at Math Competition

math competition
Northern Middle School in Calvert County was the first place winner of MATHCOUNTS. From left are coach Carole Butler, and team members Kyle Page, Jack MacMillan, Mara Durham, and Aidan Smyth.

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative‘s 24th annual math competition,

Second place team: Leonardtown Middle School, St. Mary’s County
From left, coach Bernadette Scheetz, and team members Ben Dodge, Caleb Bryan, Mika Jones, and Damanjit Singh.

MATHCOUNTS, saw close to 200 students from 21 schools and home-schooled students throughout Southern Maryland testing their math skills at Calvert Middle School in Prince Frederick on Feb. 3, 2018.

The increasingly technological business world requires a proficiency in mathematics as a foundation for success in science, technology, and engineering. The MATHCOUNTS competition works to boost student interest in math by making the subject both entertaining and challenging. Every year, more than 500 regional competitions are held in middle schools around the U.S. Winners advance to state competitions and then to the national competition.

Third place team: Milton M. Somers Middle School, Charles County
From left, coach Jennifer Rowland, and team members Taylor Peterson, Emma Vanden Berg, Rachel Chernoff, and Will Alcorn. Emma Vanden Berg also placed second in the individual sprint/target round.

MATHCOUNTS alumni are more likely to continue with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with three out of every four alumni majoring in a STEM field in college—close to three times the average in the country. MATHCOUNTS also builds critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are necessary for success. Ninety-five percent of teachers believe that MATHCOUNTS problems help improve their students’ problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Each local math competition includes rounds of math problems to challenge students one-on-one and as teams. The first is the sprint round, a 30-question test that students complete individually.

Fourth place team: Windy Hill Middle School, Calvert County
From left, coach Tracy Greenwell, and team members Bradley LeFever, Koy Greenwell, Addison Fortenbery, and Jasmine Simpson.

Competitors then go to the target round, where they get four sets of math problems and six minutes to complete each set of two questions.

The individual competition is based on combined scores in the sprint and target rounds. Holland Henderson-Boyer of Spring Ridge Middle School in St. Mary’s County placed first and Emma Vanden Berg of Milton M. Somers Middle School in Charles County placed second.

The best 12 scorers complete the competition by facing each other in the countdown round, a single-elimination tournament where students have to respond verbally to questions in a matter of seconds. Ryan Parker of Calvert Middle School finished first in the countdown round and Kyle Wojciechowski of Southern Middle School placed second.

Fifth place team: Plum Point Middle School, Calvert County
From left, head coach Dorinda Rice, and team members Seth Hilton, Ian Hays, Mick Gullace, and Emily Chan.

During the team round, groups of four students answered 10 questions in 20 minutes. Northern Middle School in Calvert County took first place; team members included Mara Durham, Jack MacMillan, Kyle Page, and Aidan Smyth, coached by Carole Butler. Leonardtown Middle School in St. Mary’s County came in second; team members included Caleb Bryan, Ben Dodge, Mika Jones, and Damanjit Singh, coached by Bernadette Scheetz. Milton Somers Middle School in Charles County won third place; team members included Will Alcorn, Rachel Chernoff, Taylor Peterson, and Emma Vanden Berg, coached by Jennifer Rowland. The Windy Hill Middle School team took fourth place and Plum Point Middle School took fifth place. Both of these schools are in Calvert County.

Sponsors for the local competition include SMECO and the Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s county public schools, with the support of the National Society of Professional Engineers. SMECO volunteers helped score the tests. Southern Maryland winners will go on to compete in the statewide contest at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The top four individual competitors from each state competition receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the national competition in Washington, DC, in May.

Ryan and Kyle, Countdown Round
Ryan Parker from Calvert Middle School finished first in the countdown round and Kyle Wojciechowski from Southern Middle School placed second. Both schools are in Calvert County.

Holland and Emma, Sprint and Target Rounds
In the individual competition, which is based on combined scores in the sprint and target rounds, Holland Henderson-Boyer of Spring Ridge Middle School in St. Mary’s County placed first and Emma Vanden Berg of Milton M. Somers Middle School in Charles County placed second.

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