Mathletes head to nationals

“I really like being a mathlete!” exclaims Marcy Rodriguez, a participant in the Freshman/Sophomore 8-person team of Riverside-Brookfield High School’s math team.  Just after competing in the ICTM Regionals at Concordia University on February 20th, RB’s mathletes are on their way to nationals which will be held this May at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana.  Freshman Lee Tang and senior Theo Gillie are qualified to compete as well as the Freshman/Sophomore 8-person team which consists of Kenzo Esquivel, Annie Mitchell, Marcy Rodriguez, Lee Tang, Emily Andrulis, Molly Chaney, Aron Perfect and Kyle Perfect. 

RB’s math team meets Friday mornings at 7:20 and is coached by math teachers Melissa Gordon and Lindsay Mynaugh.  The club practices by completing tests that are very similar to the ones in the contest as well as answering questions from past competitions.  “With the juniors and seniors, we go over some algebra and pre-calculus topics that appear on the competitions, but that they may have forgotten,” says Gordon. 

The math competition is a very complex system.  There are individual contests in which the students take tests on their own whether they’re freshman algebra 1, sophomore geometry, junior algebra 2, or senior pre-calculus.  As for the team competitions, the students work together to take a test.  “Every team gets a test, answer sheet, and scratch paper,” student mathlete, Marcy Rodriguez relayed, “If you get a certain amount right, you get to go to state.” 

Usually, the 8-person teams are restricted of calculators so the students are required do some mental math for the contests.  As for the 2-person teams, they receive bonus points for being the first to answer correctly so it’s a matter of speed. 

“There is also an orals competition where the students study a mathematical topic prior to the competition,” says Gordon, “Then at the competition they receive some questions and are given 10 minutes to prepare their answers.  After the ten minutes, they then present their answers to two judges.” 

As many as thirty-two students have practiced and twenty-eight of them go on to compete in the regional competition.

The math team reviews skills learned in regular day math classes and strive to apply these abilities in more challenging ways.  The students learn to work quickly and solve problems with or without a calculator. 

They have competed against Fenwick, St. Ignatius, Fenton, and Northside College Prep in Regionals.  Now that they are going to state, the math team will be facing all qualifying schools in the 3AA division (populations of 1,000-1,999 students.)  Excitement for the challenge runs high while the competitors are guaranteed to have a fun time. 

“I really like knowing how well my friends and I do compared to other schools,”  Rodriguez reflected, “and I really enjoy spending time with the mathletes!”