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York High's Math Team Wins 'Most Improved' Honor at State Competition

Add it up: Check out the round by round competition and see how well your York High mathletes performed.

York High School Math Team finished in 16th place in the 2014 Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) State Math Contest finals in Champaign. | Credit: York High School
York High School Math Team finished in 16th place in the 2014 Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) State Math Contest finals in Champaign. | Credit: York High School

By Dan Hall
York High Math Team Head Coach

For the first time in history, the entire York High School Math Team qualified for the prestigious Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) State Math Contest finals.

The York High School Math Team finished in 16th place, winning the Richard Rhoad Award for Most Improved Team. The team competed in all 14 events and placed in the top 20 in seven of them.

More than 3,200 students from 224 schools competed in Champaign on Saturday, May 3.

Coaches for the team are Dan Hall, Linda Lahti and Serena Briggs.

The first round at the state final is the individual competitions. Each student is given 50 minutes to answer 20 questions on Algebra, Geometry, Advanced Algebra or Pre-Calculus.

Team scores are calculated by taking the combined scores of the top four students in each grade level.

The freshmen found state math team questions extremely challenging, but still finished in 23rd place as a team, led by strong finishes from Hannah Borrows (72nd place individually) and Abby Gundrum (75th). The sophomore Geometry team was hoping to improve on 19th place a year ago and bring home a top 10 finish. Led by Eric Comings, who placed higher individually than a York student ever has at 24th, Ioan Draganov (61st), Daphne David (88th) and Brandon Parr (97th) also comprised the team, which placed a respectable 15th.

The junior team had an incredible day with Amy Strauch (47th), Brennan McGovern (51st) and Kanchi Shah (55th) who turned in a York team historical best of 13th place.

The senior team found itself in a position they had been pushing for during their entire York careers as they accomplished their four-year goal of qualifying the team for state. Individual performances on May 3 showed the level of their commitment as Travis Parr (60th), Jacqueline Nugent (69th)  and Matt Niewiara (89th) had outstanding days and took 17th place as a team.

The second round of events consisted of team contests with two 8-person no calculator events and a 5-person calculator competition. In these events, teams are given 20 minutes to collectively solve 20 problems. Both the Freshmen/Sophomore 8-person team and Junior/Senior teams spent many hours practicing together on challenging math, finishing 23rd and 18th respectively.

The Calculator team consists of one student from each grade and an extra senior to make it the most diverse team at the competition. York’s team of Andrew Miranti, Hope Kaliski, Marc Bakus, Daphne David and Colin Czech turned in an amazing performance and placing 16th, the best York has ever achieved in that event.

In the final round, York found itself in the coveted relay competition. In this event, four students form a line and create a relay team. The first student answers a question and passes their answer to the next student in the line. This second student must plug the first answer into their problem, then solve their problem before passing their answer on the third student and so on. All four students must complete their problems in under seven minutes. While this was a very challenging event, both the Junior/Senior and the Freshmen/Sophomore teams managed to complete one of the three rounds perfectly.

In the third round, the York two-person teams broke out after a disappointing regional showing to finish very well. The sophomore duo of Eric Comings and Ioan Draganov finished in 14th place and the Junior-Senior team of Amy Strauch and Jacqueline Nugent finished in 13th place.

Finally, the oral event lead by seniors Travis Parr and D.J. David turned in a 24th place finish in a competition that gave them ten minutes to solve, prepare and present solutions to several problems related to geometric probability.


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