Students Have Impressive Showing at MATHCOUNTS Competition


Mr. Crisafi

This year’s mathletes placed sixth at the county competition.

Nine hours of straight math. Algebra. Geometry. Equations. Word problems. Every problem is timed and every answer is judged. For most students, this would be a nightmare. However, for Benjamin’s mathletes, this is pure excitement. Welcome to the 2020 MATHCOUNTS county competition which was held on February 8 at Gulfstream School, just north of Delray Beach. 

The Benjamin Middle School has participated for years in this competition, and this year it sent 10 of its best mathletes. The team consisted of eighth-grade students Claire Dihn, Tyler Kelly, Andrew Lappin, Grayson Murphy, Charlie Noble, Nandini Patel, Wilson Stewart, and Addie Vining, as well as seventh graders Scott Noble and Vanessa Zito. 

For both of the seventh-grade participants, this was a new and exciting  challenge. 

“I liked being able to work together with everyone for the team rounds, and I liked it when we all figured out the problems together,” said Zito. “I did Mathcounts this year because it was more practice for next year. It was a good experience, and I’m glad I did it.”

 The team came in sixth place overall out of 18 schools and 180 students. As usual, TBS was led by Math Department Chair Mrs. Cathy Hansen.

“I enjoyed watching the students come to life when they are able to problem-solve, and get solutions, and interact, and know that math is really not that boring,” said Hansen. 

There were multiple different rounds and problems that ranged in level of difficulty throughout the competition. The competition contained algebraic equations, geometric equations, and various word problems. The students sat at desks to solve the problems, some individually, and some collectively. 

“The most interesting part of Mathcounts for me would be the count-down rounds because you can see how smart people are,” said Kelly. “[The count-down round] is like a Jeopardy round for math problems. People go on and do it; it decides the top four people that go on to states.”

For the Benjamin team, the competition posed a number of challenges.

“There were all sorts of math problems at the competition, mostly word problems,” said Patel, one of four students who was on the primary team with Kelly, Stewart, and Vining. “There were many problems that were easy, a lot that were really hard, and some that were worded weirdly, which made it very difficult for us to solve them.”

The students on the primary team were chosen by the level of experience and whether or not they had participated in MATHCOUNTS the year prior.

While having to solve difficult math problems under a time crunch could be viewed as punishment for some students, for others, it was one of the year’s highlights.

“I love math,” said Vining, [and it was super fun seeing all these different types and variants of math equations [at the competition].”