Go Mathletes!

By Amy Shen and Marie Saba

Staff Writers

Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s five finest Mathletes competed in the New York State Math League competition at Syosset High School, located in Long Island, NY, on April 25. Senior Saqif Badruddin, juniors Matt O’Connor and Reed Jaworski, and freshmen Somil Agggarwal and Billy Leiker competed on the B team for Onondaga County which placed eight out of 14.

This year’s Onondaga County teams that went to states included students from J-DHS, Fayetteville-Manlius High School, Manlius Pebble Hill, Liverpool High School, Baldwinsville High School, Weedsport High School, and Westhill High School. Students were placed on the states team based off of their performance at previous meets. For Onondaga County, students with a higher total score were put on the A team, while the students with slightly lower scores were put on the B team.  Badruddin, Jaworski, O’Connor, Aggarwal, and Leiker answered 16-19 out of 32 difficult questions correctly from the five previous meets to earn their spot on the states team.

At the states competition, students were given 10 individual questions, 10 team questions, two relay questions, and one power question that was solved as a team. What makes these questions so hard? Students have to combine their knowledge of a large spectrum of math topics such as algebra, geometry, calculus, and trigonometry to solve these problems.                                                                                                                          

Top scorers from J-DHS were Leiker and Badruddin who correctly answered four out of 10 of the individual questions. Aggarwal solved three, and Jaworski and O’Connor solved two. “I was happy with my results,” says Leiker. Badruddin says, “when you answer questions right, it feels really good.”

At states, mathletes had 10 minutes to solve each pair of “incredibly difficult individual questions,” as Math Team adviser Diane Huyck says. The relays consist of four competitors. The first competitor’s answer to a question will be used in the second’s question. Their answer will effect the third, and so on, and the fourth competitor will solve for the final answer. If the first, second, or third answers are incorrect, it affects the following person’s answer, which will in turn, make the final answer wrong. Team questions are solved by all team members to answer the problem. Power questions are given out as a team and are “brutally challenging,” says Mrs. Huyck. “It’s really interesting to see how different minds work to solve different problems,” says Jaworski.

“I walked into competition expecting the worst,” says Badruddin, “I thought I was going to get completely wrecked.” This was a common feeling throughout the five boys because they didn’t know what to expect. “We did better than expected,” says Jaworski, “everyone gave a pretty good performance.”

The Onondaga County teams left for Syosset on Friday, April 24. The following morning the competition started at 8 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m. After a “fun, but long” day of math, as Aggarwal says, the Onondaga County teams spent the rest of the trip bonding and having fun at their hotel. “Over the trip I opened up to a lot of kids and made a lot of friends,” says Jaworski. “I was happy to have had fun,” says O’Connor. The teams came home later Saturday night.

This year’s math team had around 50 members, more than previous years at J-D. “Math Team is fun because of the company,” says Badruddin. The students who participated this year in states hope to make it farther next year. “We have a chance to place within the top three, “ says Jaworski. Teams placing in the top three receive medals, t-shirts, and the top three scorers overall receive a small amount of money. Badruddin, Jaworski, O’Connor, Aggarwal, and Leiker all believe that there is definitely room for improvement individually and as a team. Aggarwal says, “we’re going to have a pretty fresh team next year!”