Math Team deciphers equation to success

Achieves continued victories during 2022-2023 season


Alex Cuckovic ‘25 works with Jack Michaelson ‘25 during partner work portion of math team practice in preparation for upcoming event (Crousore/LION)

Catherine Crousore, Reporter

After a hiatus of typical competitions due to COVID-19, Math Team returns to normalcy this year, placing high in their division throughout their meets against rivaling schools. 

“[During the first two meets], we beat every other team in the whole division,” vice president Alexander Snyder ’23 said. “I think we are going to completely annihilate this year, and it’s going to be big for us.” 

Students compete within a multitude of different categories during competitions, ranging from eight-person team strategizing, partner work, to even individual problem solving, he said. In order to prepare and put forth their best effort, students must practice the different styles of problems and effectively work out different strategies in and outside of school. 

“The subjects covered during math team are not like the materials the students typically cover in math class,” head coach Jennifer Szczesniak said. “It’s always other topics that you normally don’t get to that are more advanced, or beyond the textbook that you wouldn’t typically have in core curriculums.”

To level the playing field across the state, the team splits up by grade level to compete within their corresponding math level, she said. For example, freshmen will test in the Algebra I category, while sophomores test in the Geometry category, juniors in the Algebra II category, and seniors in the Pre-calculus category.  

“Math team students tend to be at least one if not two years ahead in their math courses,” Szczesniak said. “Some kids are even three years ahead, so it’s hard sometimes because they have to go back in time and re-learn different topics and get refreshers about some things.” 

If the team continues its winning pattern, it will have a very promising chance to qualify for regionals or even State, she said. The overnight State meet will be held late April at Illinois State University. Previously, it has been held at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“We’ve been doing very well this year,” Sczezniak said. “We have a lot of depth in our teams and sometimes we’ve only had eight to 10 students in one grade. This year, our numbers are more like 15 to 17, and so they then have to compete among themselves to represent the team.”  

Along with competitions, students involved with the team strive to break the stigma around being involved in a math-driven club.

“Math isn’t always so cut-throat and boring,” president Emre Ersahin ‘23 said. “I feel like a lot of people give it a not very interesting point of view, but in the Math Team they give us different problems that are super complicated with tons of steps, and you have to work together and use your skills to figure out what to do when, and that in itself is very fun.”

Math Team meets on Tuesdays at SC in rooms B210 and B212 at 3:15 p.m. for freshmen and sophomores, and at NC in rooms 213 and 215 at 7 p.m. for juniors and seniors.