Mathletes sixth at regionals, prepare for state and conference

Algebra I Written Competition tea, which consists of all freshmen, won regionals and are now advancing to state.
Algebra I Written Competition tea, which consists of all freshmen, won regionals and are now advancing to state.

By Maddie Conway
Staff Writer

For a lot of competitive activities or sports, the conference tournament precedes regionals, sectionals or state. But not for Prospect’s math team.

On Saturday, Feb. 20, the math team competed at their regional tournament through the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) State Contest at Harper College despite that the North Suburban Conference meet had yet to be held.
At the regional competition, the math team took sixth place out of a total of 10 teams from the 72 teams in Division 4AA.
Several students found success at Harper that day, including senior Jon Graven, fifth in Pre-Calculus; junior Eric Krakowiak, fourth in Algebra II; and junior Nick Martin, also fourth in Algebra II.

The freshman Algebra I team of six members also came in first place, including the event’s overall winner, freshman Brian Keyser, and two fifth-place finishers, freshmen Chris Mathew and Eric Williams.
Because of the Algebra I team’s first-place results, the six members of the team will advance to the state competition at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana on Saturday, May 1. Jon Graven, Krakowiak, Martin and the Junior/Senior Two Person Team will also continue.
Competitors can go on to the state level in more than one way: The members of the overall first-place team of the regional, which at Prospect’s was Buffalo Grove, all advance; those that take first place in their events continue; and also those students who meet a minimum qualifying score in their events move on to state.
Although the event is a 50-minute test that is taken individually by the six competitors that each school sends, there is a team component to the competition in written events such as the Algebra I Written Competition. After the students take the test, the four highest scores are combined to make the team score. Because Prospect’s overall score in this event gained them a first place, all six students will be able to compete at state.
Two of the event’s members, freshmen Ethan Graven and Louis Elliott, said that they are excited by the win.
“It [winning regionals] was pretty epic,” Elliott said.
They also said that they look forward to seeing how the team compares to other schools at the state level.
“It’ll be interesting to see if we’re smart compared to other schools,” Ethan said, and Elliot agreed.
Before the state competition in May, however, another competition still remains: the North Suburban Conference meet, which will be held on Thursday, March 4, at Evanston High School.
Because the scores from the five competitions during which the 55 schools in the conference compete are cumulative, some of the scores for the upcoming meet are pre-decided; Jon Graven, for example, has already secured a first place in Prospect’s division in the Oral Competition because the event is not held at the final conference meet. Prospect is currently ranked 27th in the conference.
Math team head coach Margaret Mamsch explained that the team’s practice schedule will focus on the events for conference until the meet, after which it will turn to working on the events for which Prospect qualified at state, particularly the two-person events that require more collaboration between team members.
The Junior/Senior Two Person, for example, involves two team members solving problems together under a three-minute time limit with speed and accuracy necessary for maximum points.
But until conference, the team, which is allowed to send five competitors per grade level on the written competitions, will continue to prepare for the upcoming meet, which Mamsch said is “very competitive.”
She sees potential in the team and, in that, a goal for the team’s performance at conference.
“I would just like to score well,” Mamsch said, “and see what happens. Because we have some talent there… We may not make great strides [because of our ranking], but it would be nice to move up a little.
“Overall, I think, we don’t have any superstars; our strength is going to be working together.”