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Math Counts State

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Math Counts State

By Emma Wang

On the morning of March 3rd, 2018, seven Kennedy students arose early to attend the annual state Mathcounts competition at the Sheraton Lisle Hotel. Comprising Kennedy’s four-person team were eighth graders Nathra Ramrajvel, Henry Xie, Kevin Cheng, and seventh grader Nolan Yee. They were followed by two individuals and an alternate: seventh grader Aiden Lu, and eighth graders Emma Wang and Nick Liu.

Mathcounts is an annual competition with many different levels and eliminations. Each school is allowed to bring a four-person team and a maximum of six individuals to the chapter competition. The top five four-person teams will go to state, as well as the top two best-performing individuals. Out of over 200 competitors at state, only the top four individuals will have an opportunity to represent their state at nationals, accompanied by the winning team’s coach.

Anticipation was high in the week leading up to the competition. “I think someone from Kennedy will go to nationals this year,” Nathra Ramrajvel said. Confidence in the four-person team was strong going into the competition: one team member called it “very solid.” Some are worried not about their own skill, but about the day of the competition and whether they will be able to perform at their best. As Henry Xie said, “If I do perform well, if I reach my full potential, then yes, I will be able to succeed.”

On the day of the state competition, all contestants were given the sprint round first, a 30 question test with a 40 minute time limit. This was followed by the target round, an 8 question test given in pairs of 2 problems with 6 minutes allowed for each pair. Afterwards, the four-person teams would take the team round, a 10 question test taken by the four team members within the 20 minute time limit.

After lunch, the top 16 contestants (based on the results of the individual competition) were given the opportunity to compete in the countdown round, which was conducted tournament-style in best-of-3 rounds. Nathra Ramrajvel claimed the first place trophy, while Henry Xie came in second.

Shortly after the countdown round, the awards ceremony took place, where the top 16 contestants were ranked, starting from sixteenth place. Seventh graders Nolan Yee and Aiden Lu placed in top 16, a title they still have a chance to outperform in their eighth grade year. Henry Xie and Kevin Cheng earned 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, followed by Grant Zhang of Westview Highs Middle School; and despite having said that she “didn’t actually think [she] was going to make [nationals],” Nathra Ramrajvel was crowned state champion.

As the furor died down, hands were shook and smiles and congratulations were exchanged within Kennedy’s team and with other competitors. Pride for their top three competitors resonated within the group, and many wished them good luck and congratulated their efforts and the results it had reaped. Satisfied with the competition, the three looked towards nationals to be held on May 12-15, and everyone celebrated a fun day of competition math.

For almost all the competitors, however, it was not nearly the end of the road for their course in math. Many look to further advance their knowledge of math throughout high school and possibly turn it into a career. As Nick Liu said, “I plan to join the math team at [Naperville] North as well as study for high school level competitions like AMC 10.”


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The student news site of Kennedy Jr. High School
Math Counts State