March 11, 2014. Fifteen middle school students from Hardin Park School and Valle Crucis School took part in the MATHCOUNTS Regional Competition in Hickory Feb.18 and the group brought home several honors from the event.
Both a Hardin Park and a Valle Crucis teams outperformed most of the 26 school teams at the event, with Hardin Park placing fifth overall and Valle Crucis taking eighth place. The Hardin Park team included Bryant Hou, Ryan Catoe, Alaina Arnholt, and Levi Marland. The Valle Crucis team consisted of William Nelson, Max Hagaman, Seth Reagan, and Noah Pearson.
Two WCS students placed in the top four in the individual rankings of the 220 middle school students at the competition. Eighth grader William Nelson of Valle Crucis took third place and seventh grader Bryant Hou of Hardin Park placed fourth. As a result of their strong performances in the regional competition, Nelson and Hou are now eligible to compete at the State MATHCOUNTS Competition on March 14 at the NC School of Science and Math in Durham.
The WCS teams were coached by Dr. Eric Marland, a math professor at Appalachian State University. Marland was assisted by Dr. Stephen Martin, WCS human resources director and a former middle school and high school math teacher, and by Ed Bruce, middle school math teacher at Valle Crucis.
“The teams practiced each Thursday for about four months leading up to MATHCOUNTS,” said Marland. “They worked hard and had a lot of fun with math games and with solving math problems both as groups and as individuals.”
“This is the best overall performance ever at MATHCOUNTS for our Watauga County Schools students,” noted Martin. “Dr. Marland, Mr. Bruce and I are very proud of their efforts and their achievements. We hope their success will encourage more students and more schools in our system to participate in MATHCOUNTS next year.”
MATHCOUNTS offers a national mathematics competition for middle school students that began over 30 years ago with the sponsorship of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). The mission of MATHCOUNTS is to engage middle school students of all levels of ability in fun, challenging math problems to expand their academic and professional opportunities. The competitions are held in all 50 states, as well as in U.S. territories and schools worldwide through the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department. Additional information about the program and the nonprofit MATHCOUNTS Foundation is available online at mathcounts.org.