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Junior High students attend Mathcounts competition

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By KATHERINE SPRAGGINS LJHS math teacher - March 9, 2019

2019 Math Counts Team

Ten students from LJHS competed at the MATHCOUNTS competition, as either part of a team or individually for their chance to compete at the state level.

There are four team members whose scores contributed toward the team score. Team members from the eighth-grade class were Megan Rindal, James Martel, Matthew Golik and Elizabeth Fulbright.

We also had six competitors who competed as individuals. Those students who represented Lewistown were eighth-graders Remington
Cattaneo, Hailey Jackson, and Emma Myers, and seventh-graders Josie Dubbs, Aiden Ehlert and Christian Wolfe.

Our team was excited this year as we were headed to the state competition in Butte on March 15.  Our team place was third overall, out of 14 teams, and over several AA schools from Billings.

I honestly could not be more proud of all of my kids who competed. We had 10 kids and all of them were in the 50 percent area or above, the whole group of kids. It says a lot, because many of these kids we competed against are all the topnotch students from their schools. Seven of the 10 Lewistown kids were in the top 25 percent of the competitors. There were 137 total kids who competed.

Our team was a tight scoring group. Three of the teams had 26 points each, and the next was 25. I don’t know how it could have gotten any tighter. It shows the kids know what I taught them collectively, and hopefully a few more skills can be solidified before our state competition later this month.
Overall rankings based on the scores were Megan Rindal in ninth, James Martel 12th, Matthew Golik 14th, and Elizabeth Fulbright in 19th. Continuing with the individual competitors, Remington Cattaneo was 21st, Emma Myers was 27th and Josie Dubbs was 30th. All of those  students were in the 25 percent group.  Hailey Jackson was 56th (she was my discovery last year and had not competed before eighth grade), Aiden Ehlert 63rd, and Christian Wolfe 71st.

We are fortunate to have a Mathcounts class offered in school. I have two classes as electives that alternate days of when I get to see them. There are almost 40 kids involved in this program. They have Mathcounts either two or three days a week. The training begins at the beginning of the school year, with seventh and eighth grade combined. The seventh-grade kids start out pretty overwhelmed. In December kids start taking a series of tests to count toward their overall scores within my two classes. That way I can rank them and get a pretty good idea who would be the most successful.

The Chapter Mathcounts competition includes four different types of tests. The first test students take is called the Sprint Round, consisting of 30 questions for which they are not allowed to use calculators nor help from their teammates. It is an individualized test and must be completed in 40 minutes. Each question will earn an individual point for a correct response.

The next test is called the Target Round, calculators acceptable. Each student receives two questions and must finish in six minutes; then two more until they have each completed eight questions total. These questions earn the competitors two points per correct answer to go toward their individual score.

The students are then given a Team Test and again calculators are acceptable. Ten questions are given and must be finished within 20 minutes as a team. This test counts heavily toward the team scoring, earning two points per question. Teams scores are determined by the mean score (average) of the four-team member’s individual scores, plus the team test score. A perfect score as a team is 66 points. 

The last test is called the Countdown Round, which is played in a game show type fashion. A member from each of the 14 teams is represented in 10 different rounds. Each round consists of a student answering two or more questions correctly. Competitors have to buzz in and answer the question. Some of the competitors were able to buzz in before thequestion was finished being read, and give the correct answer. In the final Countdown round one player is the overall victorious winner. This year eighth-grader Emma Myers was a finalist in the Countdown round, but was not able to win the overall competition.

I am the coach for the Mathcounts team this year and my name is Katherine Spraggins. I am the Junior High math teacher for eighth grade math, eighth grade algebra, and, of course, Mathcounts. I think I have been coaching the Mathcounts kids for 11 years now, and have enjoyed every minute of it. There is always a special bond that goes with coaching the kids and the feelings of pride never seem to fade. I love the students I work with.

2019 MathCounts Participants
The students who competed in the 2019 Mathcounts contest in Billings, are (front row,from left) Megan Rindal Aiden Ehlert, Hailey Jackson, Josie Dubbs, Elizabeth Fulbright and Coach Katherine Spraggins, (back row) Christian Wolfe, Matthew Golik, James Martel, Remington Cattaneo, and Emma Myers.


Note - This article is provided with permission and was published in the March 9, 2019 Lewistown NewsArgus.

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