Seahawk math team repeats as Mountain Valley champs

Next up is state meet April 4
Posted:  Monday, March 27, 2017 - 8:15am

In a sterling defense of their Mountain Valley math championship won in a hard-fought battle a year ago, the Boothbay Region Seahawks performed consistently at a high level throughout this year’s championship meet, took a lead after round 2 of the 10-round tournament, and never faced a significant challenge the rest of the way.

When the six individual rounds, the two relay rounds, and the two team rounds were over, the scoreboard showed Boothbay Region winning with 348 points, Hall-Dale High school in second place with 298 points, and Winthrop High School taking the third-place trophy with 273 points. Trailing Winthrop were Monmouth Academy with 230 points and Carrabec High School with 212 points.

Seahawk team members also won four of the nine trophies awarded at the meet for superior individual performance. Freshman Will Perkins was the top freshman among all the conference schools, Connor Demmons was the top scoring junior, Max Hoecker was the third highest scoring junior, and Sam Betts was the third highest scoring senior. In all, nine members of the Boothbay team scored among the top 30 students at the meet. Other than the four trophy winners, the Boothbay squad included seniors Griffin Kane and Nakyung Kim; juniors Kyle Alley, Hayden Brewer, and Hailey Greenleaf; and sophomores Gabbie Boord and Loren Genrich.

This year’s Mountain Valley tournament was held March 22 at Carrabec High School in North Anson, Maine, and it serves as a springboard to the Maine State Math Meet on April 4 at the Augusta Civic Center. The MVC tournament was also the testing grounds for the new scoring system implemented by the Maine Association of Math Leagues for use at the state meet. The system worked, and one of its new features is to place running scores of all teams onto the cloud where they are accessible for one and all in real time. Fortunately, the competitors did not know about this feature or they would have been tempted to reach for their phones, stowed in their personal belongings under competition rules, to see just where they stood!

Questions fielded by the students at the tournament ran the gamut of everything mathematical that can be asked of a student conversant with the full range of the high school curriculum. There were predictable questions about equations, functions, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, logarithms, and number theory, but also questions about revenue-optimization in a business and an off-beat question about ice cream bars. The problems are designed so that all students, even freshmen, have a good opportunity to get some of them right but the best students will have virtually no chance of getting them all right. Indeed, all students at the meet garnered some points for correct answers, even a sixth-grader on one school’s team, and the best individual score at the meet was 51 points out of a maximum of 72. While every question at the meet was answered correctly by at least one student from one of the schools, every question was answered incorrectly by at least one student as well.

It takes an adjustment for students normally scoring from 90 to 100 on all their quizzes and tests in regular classes to accept the much lower percentages common at math meets. In fact, on a traditional curve, the top scoring student at this tournament, drawn from a group of the best students at all the conference schools, would have received a grade of C-minus! In turn, it takes an adjustment for students scoring only 6 or 7 points at a meet to realize they are actually contributing and enhancing their team score and are vital parts of the team’s effort.

The Boothbay Region Seahawk math team has competed with strong teams for over two decades. Boothbay was the second best team in the small-school category during the 2016-2017 regular season in the Central Maine Math League, losing only to the Kents Hill team, and has a good chance to be one of the seven trophy winners at the state meet April 4th.

The team has always welcomed all interested students, from freshmen to seniors, regardless of math ability. Members commit to practicing after school hours and traveling considerable distances to meets. The purposes of the math team are to bolster traditional classroom mathematical learning, to extend logical and mathematical concepts to problems far afield of traditional math, and to provide a positive and fun experience in an extra-curricular environment void of the decorum and pressures implicit in traditional classroom work.

Math Team at BRHS is coached by Peter and Nancy Gilchrist, with considerable assists from the math faculty, the administration, the community, the parents, and of course the student team members themselves.