Math Team places second at regional tournament

Team looks forward to upcoming competitions after winning invitational


Olivia Grefenstette, Reporter

Due to COVID-19, the Math Team has not had the opportunity to compete in regionals for the past two years. While the team was unsure of what to expect from the virtual regional competition on Feb. 26, they ultimately performed strongly, Math Team head coach, Jennifer Szczesniak said. 

The team as a whole placed second out of nine teams in regionals. The team during competitions is divided into smaller groups by event and grade level. At regionals, the freshman team and oral team both won first. Additionally, the sophomore team, junior teams, and the eight-person junior and senior team all came in second.

The team has competed in three in-person competitions, including the one in Lemont, and a few virtual competitions during the Omicron variant surge. They are aiming to send students to approximately six out of the 12 events at state, Szczesniak said. This year’s state, organized by the University of Illinois, will take place on April 30. But first, the team will have to wait until March 25, when they will be notified if they qualified for state.

“I think everyone was very anxious to get our [regional] results because it is the end of a long season, where everyone has worked so hard,” Math Team member, Amanda Hahn ‘23 said. “It would be so cool to see our hard work pay off by qualifying for state.” 

COVID-19 restrictions have limited the team these past two years. Instead of taking a bus to other schools for competitions, the team must meet over Zoom and send in their responses virtually, Szczesniak said. Nonetheless, they continue to meet at NC and SC every Tuesday. Divided by events, members prepare for competitions through direct, hands-on practice. Although the Math Team requires cooperation and teamwork, preparation for competitions is predominantly individualized, as not every member is working with the same level of math.

Math Team member Colin Barnicle ‘23 prepares for competitions by practicing pages of problems, involving the concepts that will appear in competitions, he said. For his event—Oral—he and his partner hold mock competitions during team meetings for around an hour and a half weekly, in preparation for future events. In his case, he competes with a partner; however, members can compete individually or with groups of up to eight people.

This year, the Math Team competed in their first virtual regional competition since leaving the North Suburban League last year and forming the West Suburban League. There are 16 leagues and each league encompasses teams in nearby districts, Szczesniak said. The formation of the West Suburban League allowed for more flexibility within the club and gave students the opportunity to partake in team events. 

Nonetheless, these changes have not shaken the team’s confidence and they feel optimistic for upcoming competitions, Szczesniak said.

“I’m excited to show the judges what I’ve got,” Barnicle said. “My partner and I are both really good at orals, and I think we’ve got a good shot at making state and taking the crown at regionals.”