MATHCOUNTS® attracts 268 competitors
The Lehigh Valley MATHCOUNTS® regional competition was held at Southern Lehigh High School, Center Valley, Feb. 11.
The event included 268 middle school students from 28 schools from across the region. This is the 33rd year for the program, which is sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the PA Society of Professional Engineers. The goal is to promote a mathematical interest in middle school students.
In the morning, students registered and completed written testing. After lunch, the mathletes joined approximately 500 guests for the Main Countdown Round in the auditorium. Only the top 10 students competed in this final round.
Kevin Campbell, P.E., LEED AP, the engineer from Lehigh Valley Chapter of PSPE, who organized the event, welcomed the crowd and drew random raffle tickets to choose the winners of 25 day passes to Dorney Park. He also assisted moderator Peter Stafford P.E., in conducting the round.
Stafford began the event by reading the rules for the intense math competition.
“Calculators are not permitted on this round. You will be prepared in 45 seconds to provide your answers.”
Students were called to the stage in pairs of two, asked to test their buzzers and then the math questions began, while also appearing simultaneously on an overhead screen. A typical competition question was: “A set of distinct positive integers has a total of 11 digits, and all the digits are 1s. What is the smallest possible sum of the integers in the set?” The answer: 11,234.
Alfred Gruenke, P.E., president of the PSPE, presented students with their awards.
The top 10 individuals were:
•First place: Daniel Li, eighth grade, Nitschmann Middle School
•Second place: Neha Skandan, eighth grade, Moravian Academy
•Third place: Geoffrey Kleinberg, eighth grade, Lower Macungie Middle School
•Fourth place: Angela Chen, eighth grade, Moravian Academy
•Fifth place: Victor Cai, seventh grade, Springhouse Middle School
•Sixth place: Chris Secula, eighth grade, Nitschmann Middle School
•Seventh place: Shlock Dholakia, seventh grade, Springhouse Middle School
•Eighth place: Eric Zhang, sixth grade, Springhouse Middle School
•Ninth place: Oak Hu, sixth grade, Springhouse Middle School
•10th place: Chris Buck, eighth grade, Lower Macungie Middle School
The Nitschmann Middle School team, coached by Nadine Novatnak, placed first.
The Springhouse Middle School team, coached by Kevin Hallman, placed second.
Lower Macungie Middle School, coached by Patrick Campbell and Southern Lehigh Middle School, coached by Ronnette Mayes tied for third place.
Other winners included Moravian Academy, fifth place, coached by Alison Overdorf and Dani Mackavage and Easton Area Middle School, sixth place, coached by Eric and Alex Adams.
Pleasant Valley Middle School won, “The Most Improved Team” award due to the schools’ ability to rise 16 ranks from last year’s competition.
The top three female students, Neha Skandan and Angela Chen, both from Moravian Academy and Kara Nghiem from Easton Area Middle School, will receive a course in math or science at Cedar Crest College.
Moravian College, Lafayette College, Lehigh Carbon Community College and Northampton Community College also provided top winners with scholarships for mathematics courses.
Li and Skandan will compete at the MATHCOUNTS® state competition in Harrisburg in March. They will be accompanied by all members of the first-place team from Nitschmann Middle School.
The four top state winners go to the National MATHCOUNTS® competition in Orlando, Fla. in May. The National Society of Professional Engineers in partnership with state engineering societies will sponsor the event.
Student Max Brichta, a middle-schooler from the Nitschmann team, shared about his experience at the competition and what it took to get there.
“It was awesome to represent Nitschmann and be part of our team that was able to win the MATHCOUNTS® competition. We all worked hard by practicing before and after school since September [2016.] Our coach, Miss Novatnak, did an excellent job in preparing us for the competition and Daniel Li was amazing in finishing first place as an individual.”
Gruenke has been volunteering for roughly 10 years, at the annual event and shared why he continues to return.
“I never tire of MATHCOUNTS®. All those bright, polite, young people. It never ceases to amaze me. When given the most difficult math test of their young lives they look up, smile, and say ‘Thank you.’ It’s difficult for me to hold back my emotions.”
For more information go to the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers at http://www.lvpspe.org/MathCounts.