Four students from Omaha Brownell-Talbot School expressed delight and relief Saturday after winning the annual Eastern Regional Chapter MathCounts team competition.
“It feels great,” said Laura Liu, 12. “It feels really great.”
The contest drew 200 students and 29 teams to the Ramada Plaza Hotel, 72nd and Grover Streets. Teams came from public and private middle schools across the Omaha area.
The students competed in target, sprint and team rounds, wrestling with mind-boggling math problems.
Teams must solve problems like this one:
A four-digit perfect square integer is created by placing two positive two-digit perfect square integers next to each other. What is the four-digit square integer? The answer, according to the folks at MathCounts, is 1681.
The day wrapped up with a high-pressure countdown round featuring the day's top-scoring students competing head-to-head in a quiz-show style, buzzing in quickly to answer.
The competition is “nerve-wracking,” and students feel pressure not to let down their teammates, said Laura, who competed in the exhibition countdown round.
Other members of the Brownell-Talbot team were Meera Nair and Chris Lin, both 12, and Ameya Kutty, 13. They were coached by Tammy Simkins, a Brownell Talbot math teacher.
Second place went to George F. Russell Middle School of the Millard Public Schools. In third was Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School of the Omaha Public Schools.
The top four teams and top four individuals not on one of those teams advance to Nebraska's state MathCounts competition next month.
Top 10 students:
Owen Gong, Russell Middle
Tomo Bessho, Buffett Middle
Jacob Mann, Gretna Middle
Khoa Nguyen, Kiewit Middle
Josh Gromowsky, Mary Our Queen
Laura Liu, Brownell-Talbot
Ian Parmley, Millard North Middle
Joe McGill, St. Robert Bellarmine
Camden Olds, Gretna Middle
Noah Wasserberger, St. James Seton School
Top 10 teams:
George F. Russell Middle School
Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School
Mary Our Queen Catholic School
Peter Kiewit Middle School
St. Margaret Mary Catholic School
St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic School
Gretna Middle School
McMillan Magnet Middle School
Millard North Middle School