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Winners Add Up at Mathcounts Competition


First-place team: Northern Middle School, Calvert County, include, from left, coach Carole Butler, and team members Hogan Joo, Steven Vilcheck, Kyle Page, and Barbara Kaczmarek.

More than 200 students from 21 Southern Maryland schools traveled to Calvert High School in Prince Frederick on Feb. 2, 2019, for the 25th annual regional MATHCOUNTS, hosted by Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative.

The current competitive technological world requires a proficiency in mathematics as a foundation for success in science, technology, and engineering. The MATHCOUNTS competition aims to boost student interest in math by making the subject both entertaining and challenging. Each year, more than 500 regional competitions are held in middle schools around the country, with winners advancing to state competitions and then to the national event.

Second-place team is Plum Point Middle School. From left are team members Andrew Lamb, Tristen Millsaps, coach Jonathan Moreland, and team members Seth Hilton, and Aidan Moreland.

According to its website, MATHCOUNTS alumni are more likely to continue studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with three out of every four alumni studying a STEM field in college—nearly three times the national average. Also, MATHCOUNTS builds the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are necessary for success: 95 percent of teachers believe MATHCOUNTS problems are effective at improving the problem-solving and critical thinking skills of their students.

The third-place team is Leonardtown Middle School. From left are team members Mika Jones, Ben Dodge, Chloe Hair, and Avery Thompson, and coach Kathryn Smith.

The local competition features rounds of math problems that challenge students one-on-one and as teams over the course of the three-hour event. First is the sprint round, a 30-question test that each student completes individually. Competitors then go to the target round, where they have four sets of math problems and six minutes to complete each set of two questions.

The fourth-place team is Spring Ridge Middle School, including, from left, coach Gary Robinson, and team members Ria Sharma, Marc Hauenstein, and Peter Imhof. Not pictured: Veronica Zhou.

In the individual competition, based on combined scores in the sprint and target rounds, Kyle Page from Northern Middle School in Calvert County placed first and Seth Hilton from Plum Point Middle School in Calvert County came in second.

The top 12 scorers face each other in the countdown round, a single-elimination tournament at which students have to respond verbally to questions in a matter of seconds. Avery Thompson from Leonardtown Middle School in St. Mary’s County finished first in the countdown round and Hogan Joo from Northern Middle School in Calvert County came in second.

Fifth-place team is Windy Hill Middle School, including, from left, coach Jesse Holton, team members Jasmine Simpson, Addison Fortenbery, Jackson Goehle, Ahnaf Anowar, and head coach Tracy Greenwell.

In the team round, groups of four students answer 10 questions in 20 minutes. In the team competition, Northern Middle School won first place; team members included Hogan Joo, Barbara Kaczmarek, Kyle Page, and Steven Vilcheck, coached by Carole Butler. Plum Point Middle School in Calvert County placed second; team members included Seth Hilton, Andrew Lamb, Tristen Millsaps, and Aidan Moreland, coached by Jonathan Moreland. Leonardtown Middle School in St. Mary’s County took third place; team members included Ben Dodge, Chloe Hair, Mika Jones, and Avery Thompson, coached by Kathryn Smith. The team from Spring Ridge Middle School in St. Mary’s County took fourth place and Windy Hill Middle School in Calvert County took fifth place.

Countdown Sprint and Target Winners were, from left, Seth Hilton of Plum Point Middle School, Avery Thompson of Leonardtown Middle School, Hogan Joo of Northern Middle School, and Kyle Page of Northern Middle School. Page placed first in the individual competition, which is based on combined scores in the sprint and target rounds. Hilton placed second. Thompson placed first in the countdown round and Joo placed second.

Sponsors for the local MATHCOUNTS competition include SMECO and the Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s county public schools, with the support of the National Society of Professional Engineers. Volunteers from SMECO helped to score the tests. Winners of the Southern Maryland chapter competition will go on to compete in the state 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 Orlando, Fla., in May.

To learn more about SMECO, please visit its Leader member page.

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