Recently, 23 of Watauga’s best math students met virtually to test their mettle against their peers in the annual Mathcounts competition — a contest that tasks young mathematicians to tackle challenging math problems in a timed tournament format.
The High Country MathCounts Chapter competition is usually held in person on the campus of Appalachian State University at the Reich College of Education, but was moved to a virtual platform this year because of the pandemic. The competition typically consists of both individual and team events, but because of the online format, no team-level events took place this year.
Teams across Watauga practiced for several months leading up to the competition to hone their mathematics skills on multiple types of problems that include algebra, geometry, number sense, probability and statistics. The problems are designed to stretch students’ critical thinking and challenge them to learn advanced mathematics in middle school.
Six students from the High Country competition advanced to the next level of the contest.
Keith Tu from Parkway earned first place, Lauren Yu from Hardin Park earned second place, and Sam Nystrom from Hardin Park earned third place. In addition to these three students, Kamryn Lavelle from Valle Crucis and Grace Young from Parkway also qualified to move on to the State competition that was held on March 25.
Erica Slate Young, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at App State, said she was proud of the student’s who’d been able to perform so well in the competition despite the additional challenges of a difficult school year.
“In a school year such as this one, where so many events had to be cancelled, it was wonderful that we were able to offer this opportunity to the students of the High Country, even though we were not able to do the competition in our usual way,” Slate said. “This is more than just a math competition; it is an opportunity for middle school students to get together with others in order to have fun doing math. It was difficult this year to find ways for the students to work together, but the coaches did an excellent job of rising to the challenge.”
Students who participated in Mathcounts were: Ruby Anderson, Sofia Carmichael, Sienna Davidson, Lydia Dean, Micah Edgerton, Noah Gordon, Daniel Jones, Cole Kleman, Sarrah Kitchell, Kamryn Lavelle, Sofia McEvoy, Patrick Mellon, Lucy Neal,Anna Norris, Eric Nystrom, Sam Nystrom, Brecken Sauthoff, Keith Tu, Ananda Verling, Emma Wampler, Bryce Williams, Grace Young and Lauren Yu.
For more information on Mathcounts, visit www.mathcounts.org.