RMS MATHCOUNTS counts up awards

Mark Yankovitz

The MATHCOUNTS team at Revere Middle School dominated the rankings across multiple categories at a competition in February, including multiple students advancing to the upcoming state competition.

Five Revere students finished in the top ten in the individual competition, three of whom finished in the top three. In the team competition, eighth graders Rohit Dasanoor, Drake Du, Will Krew, and seventh grader Philip Liu won first place and advanced to the state competition in Columbus on March 10, led by coaches Kevin Somerville and Amy Hiller. Hiller attested to the success at the University of Akron competition.

“It was fantastic because there were many different schools there, and out of the top 10 individual scores, 5 out of the top 10 were from Revere. It was amazing,” Hiller said.

Competitions include multiple rounds, but the formats change for each series of questions. Students first compete in the sprint round, in which they have thirty questions to answer in forty minutes without any calculators. The target round follows this and students can use calculators, although they still have limited time to complete questions. Individuals compete in the sprint and target rounds, while teams must answer additional questions as a group of four students. Additional rounds depend on the competition; at the University of Akron, Revere also competed in a countdown round that placed two students next to each other. The first student to raise their hand and answer correctly won the round and moved on. The scores in these rounds determined where the students placed, as indicated by Somerville.

“When Revere won this last competition as a school, it was based off of our top 4 students’ scores in those three rounds,” Somerville said.

In order to prepare for these competitions, the MATHCOUNTS team practices after school during the week. Hiller elaborated on the topics they cover.

“We practice once a week, and we get practice questions that dive in deep to one topic usually, . . . so it’ll be a set of ten questions pertaining to probability, and then another set for geometry,” Hiller said.

Practices focus on topics that the students cannot access in a traditional class, as explained by Somerville.

“We might do a bigger challenging problem, we might do some speed round stuff for fun, we might do some workout type things which are just exposing kids to different types of things like a lot of work with probability. . .[We] just introduce a few new things that they wouldn’t see in a traditional school math class,” Somerville said.

Students in all three grades at the middle school participate in the practices for their passion for the topics and the sense of camaraderie and friendship within the group. Du explained what he enjoys about the program.

“I enjoy the community of people who solve problems and share a common interest in math,” Du said.

Seventh grade student Akshay Elango liked the challenge inherent with solving the problems in MATHCOUNTS.

“I like the competitive part, [specifically] competing against other people to get it right before they do,” Elango said.

The coaches for the students shared similar perspectives. Both Hiller and Somerville cited the collaboration between students as one of the greatest factors of the program as students work together to solve problems.  Hiller explained her favorite aspect of the program.

“I really like how the kids are working together; they collaborate very well, and they end up teaching each other these really intense math concepts,” Hiller said.

Somerville cited the appreciation the students have for math.

“I think it’s just how much fun our kids have doing it. There really are some times where the problems are hard and they’re working very hard, but they’re always having fun, they’re always excited to share their solutions with other teammates and figure out what the answer is,” Somerville said.

At the state competition in Columbus on March 10, Revere placed second overall. This is the first time an Akron-based MATHCOUNTS team has placed second in the state competition. Krew, Du, Jared Madarang, Liu, and Jackson Campbell all placed highly both overall and in the individual countdown rounds. Additionally, Rohit Dasanoor placed third overall and was the first Revere student to ever qualify for the national competition. Dasanoor will advance to attend the national competition on May 14 in Washington, D.C.