Math Team finishes Top 15 at State

Led with strong performances by individuals, team places high.


Credit: Jeremy Mikkola (Flickr Creative Commons)

Drew Cushing, Assistant Website Editor

At the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) state competition held on May 1-2 at U of I, the Lyons Township Math Team placed 14th overall with a total score of 708 points.

Individually, Max Olson ‘15 placed highest on the team with a fifth place finish in the orals competition with a score of 47/50. Also, Timothy Houston ‘18 finished with an 18/20 individually in the algebra competition and finished in 35th.

“Because our kids are so involved with other activities and not practicing everyday or every lunch period, we feel that we make a very strong team for the amount of time kids are able to commit to math team,” head coach Jennifer Szczesniak said.

In order to qualify for the state meet, the team first had to make it through the regional meet. There are 18 regions in the state of Illinois, and because the team won its regional by beating Hinsdale Central by only one point, the entire team qualified for state.

The team left for the competition early on May 1, and when they arrived at U of I they had lunch and practiced in the afternoon for a couple of hours in classrooms in the English building on the quad. Later in the night, students continued to review at the hotel and the next day the team headed back to the university where the tests started at 10 a.m.

“It was great to see all of us in matching T-shirts and hanging out as a team instead of being clustered by individual grade level,” Szczesniak said. “Because during the day of the event… it’s very fractured so it was nice that all of them could come together and just enjoy some time with the university and compliment each other on the jobs well done.”

The team faired well at the meet, with the senior team placing 14th overall, freshmen placing 13th, fresh/soph 8 person team placing 11th and the calculator team placing 13th.

“Afterwards for the written tests they give us the answers right away so we know what we got,” Matt Nutley ’15 said. “You can get a judgment of how you did immediately after the competition. You just don’t know how it is compared to other schools.”

In order to prepare for the state competition, the math team met on Tuesdays where they would practice the written, eight person, and relay competitions. Olson also had extra preparation for the oral event by meeting with Joe Barker at 6:30 before school on Mondays. The team for the calculator event met after school in order to prepare themselves.

“When you get to a problem you either know it or you don’t and when you don’t you just kind of move on,” Olson said. “And so we’ve done a lot of reviewing formulas for geometry, we’ll put them into our calculators, so I felt relaxed.”

At the state meet last year, the team scored in the low 600s total and this year was seen as an improvement because of the increase in total points.

“I didn’t hear a lot of disappointment,” Olson said. “There weren’t any major regrets.”