News Release, SMECO
The 25th annual regional MATHCOUNTS competition challenged more than 200 students from 21 schools throughout Southern Maryland to test their math skills at Calvert Middle School in Prince Frederick on Saturday, February 2, 2019.
A competitive technological world requires a proficiency in mathematics as a foundation for success in science, technology, and engineering. MATHCOUNTS aims to boost student interest in mathematics by making the subject challenging and entertaining. Each year, more than 500 regional competitions are held in middle schools across the country, with winners advancing to state competitions and then to the national competition.
According to its website, MATHCOUNTS alumni are more likely to continue with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with 3 out of every 4 alumni studying a STEM field in college—nearly three times the national average. And MATHCOUNTS builds the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for success: 95% of teachers believe that MATHCOUNTS problems are effective at improving their students’ problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
The local MATHCOUNTS competition features rounds of mathematics problems to 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 students complete individually. The competitors go next to the target round, where they have four sets of math problems and six minutes to complete each set of two questions.
In the individual competition, which is 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 placed second.
The top 12 scorers finish the competition by facing each other in the countdown round, a single-elimination tournament in which students must 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 placed second.
In the team round, foursomes of students answer 10 questions in 20 minutes. In the team competition, Northern Middle School in Calvert County 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 won 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.
Sponsors for the local MATHCOUNTS competition are 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 score the tests. Winners of the Southern Maryland chapter competition will go on to compete in the statewide 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, FL, in May.
First place team: Northern Middle School, Calvert County
From left, coach Carole Butler, and team members Hogan Joo, Steven Vilcheck, Kyle Page, and Barbara Kaczmarek. Kyle Page also placed first in the sprint/target round and Hogan Joo placed second in the countdown round.
Second place team: Plum Point Middle School, Calvert County
From left, team members Andrew Lamb, Tristen Millsaps, coach Jonathan Moreland, and team members Seth Hilton, and Aidan Moreland. Seth Hilton also placed second in the sprint/target round.
Third place team: Leonardtown Middle School, St. Mary’s County
From left, team members Mika Jones, Ben Dodge, Chloe Hair, and Avery Thompson, and coach Kathryn Smith. Avery Thompson also placed second in the countdown round.
Fourth place team: Spring Ridge Middle School, St. Mary’s County
From left, coach Gary Robinson, and team members Ria Sharma, Marc Hauenstein, and Peter Imhof. Not pictured: Veronica Zhou.
Fifth place team: Windy Hill Middle School, Calvert County
From left, coach Jesse Holton, team members Jasmine Simpson, Addison Fortenbery, Jackson Goehle, Ahnaf Anowar, and head coach Tracy Greenwell.
Countdown Sprint and Target Winners
From left are Kyle Page from Northern Middle School in Calvert County, Avery Thompson from Leonardtown Middle School in St. Mary’s County, Hogan Joo from Northern Middle School in Calvert County, and Seth Hilton from Plum Point Middle School in Calvert County. 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.