Math Team State Competition Sparks New Ideas for Next Season

Tyler Chrenka, Editor-in-Chief

Several qualifying mathletes competed in the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics state championships on April 30, in which they gained new skills and thought of ideas about how the team will function next year. 

 “After seeing what the regional, sectional and state tests look like, I am going to make sure we increase concept reviews. Each test always tests you on many concepts within its subject,” said junior Selin Aktuna, elected captain for next year. “Other than that, I want the meetings to look the same. I like how we do both individual and team tests and get to review them, collaborate with each other and ask questions to our advisors.” 

Because they did not place first at regionals, the math team could only bring its state qualifiers to the competition, which were four individual competitors and an upperclassmen team. Freshman Karis Chen placed 67th, sophomore David Huang placed 71st, sophomore Joe Viox placed 44th, senior Spencer Rawson got 112th and the junior/senior team got 24th.

Chen said her state experience was similar to what she expected, and now she knows new strategies for future competitions.

 “Everything felt pretty relaxed because we had the competition remotely this year, so we just took the test in Ms. Rice’s room. I’ve previously done math team tests with Mrs. Rice so it wasn’t anything new,” Chen said. “I hope that I keep qualifying for the state competition in future years, and I hope to increase my placement. I now know what the tests look like, so I am going to prepare for future tests by reviewing concepts and building my skills.”

 Mollie Rice, the AP Calculus teacher and math team sponsor, said that going into next year she hopes to increase preparation for the types of questions on the regional and state test.

 “These questions aren’t regular math equations, and instead they require critical thinking by combining many concepts into one question,” Rice said. “They pull skills from many areas of math at once-areas that students sometimes learned years ago. The goal is to get the members more comfortable with these concepts.”

 In addition to reviewing concepts, Rice hopes to boost team comradery and get more members on the team for the next season. She said this will allow them to place better at competitions by boosting morale and getting more participants in certain categories.


“I think team bonding definitely has an effect on our performance, and this was evident with COVID-19 for the past two years. We weren’t able to see each other in person, so people were not able to get along and form friendships,” she said. “This next year I think we will have more members to fill up spots in competitions, and with many of the returning members having spent this season getting to know each other, I anticipate the morale will be good.”