March mathematical madness

Posted 4/13/22


“Start your mathematic engines!” proclaimed the host Thomas Morey as he marked the beginning of the annual state math competition last Wednesday, hosted at Bishop …

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March mathematical madness



“Start your mathematic engines!” proclaimed the host Thomas Morey as he marked the beginning of the annual state math competition last Wednesday, hosted at Bishop Hendricken High School. This event was, to the joy of many, held normally in-person after a year of being operated in a highly-restricted in-person mode.

Novia Jiang of Moses Brown fondly remembered when she competed in-person at CCRI two years ago as an eighth grader. During this year’s competition she was, “so excited to be at an in-person high school competition.” Like many other students there, she remarked that, “[Hendricken] provided food,” which was something every team needed to be ready for the mathematical challenges of the day. “I feel excited. It’s been a while for a competition here and I’m feeling the competition,” said Eric Mangasarian of Bishop Hendricken. It was his first time competing at the state competition. Even the principal of Bishop Hendricken, Mark Deciccio, came out to show his support to the visiting teams as he chanted, “PEMDAS! PEMDAS!”  ( An acronym for the order of operations when approaching a math problem. You perform parentheses first, then exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction from left to right on the equation.)

There are two components of the math league. There are a few preliminary matches held individually at each school and some of the highest scoring schools from those matches compete at the state level. This year, the high school teams were from Barrington, Bishop Hendricken, Classical, Cumberland, East Greenwich, Moses Brown, Portsmouth, Providence Country Day, Rocky Hill, South Kingstown, and Wheeler. Wheeler had won the preliminary matches by a single question against Barrington who came in a close second. While awards were given for the preliminary matches, the state competition provided the chance for Barrington to win a victory over Wheeler.

Entering into the final rounds, Wheeler and Barrington were neck and neck with scores of 94 to 98, out of 144, respectively. Paul Chirkov a, senior on the Wheeler team, said that, “I don’t want to jinx it, but we have a chance,” just before entering the “relay round.” This round is where four students are each given only part of the question and must hand back their answer to the next person so they can solve their part without communicating with each other.

 One wrong answer in this round can derail the entire team’s solution. This relay round was particularly difficult as none of the teams received any points leaving the scores unchanged. Upon leaving the relay and before a final team collaboration round, some Barrington students confidently remarked, “the winners will probably be us because we’d have to get three wrong and wheeler would have to get a perfect score.” Barrington followed through on this and won the state championship with a score of 106. Wheeler came in close second with a score of 100. East Greenwich and Portsmouth tied for third with 78 points each. Another notable achievement was made by Atul Thyvalappil of Bishop Hendricken for having the highest score of the season overall having only faltered on a single question over the span of a hundred questions.

This state championship marks the  end to the math competition season as there is no national competition. The next season will begin again next fall around the start of the school year and will conclude around early spring the year after.

mathematical madness, math


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