Lakeside High School math team members Sagar Bapat (from left), Peter Huang, Brian Le and Brian Hsu won the 30th Annual ASU High School Math Competition on March 12.
Photo by C. Samantha McKevie
Lakeside High School's math team counted sweet victory for the second year in a row, winning Augusta State University's High School Math Competition on March 12.
More than 150 students from 16 Richmond, Columbia and Aiken County public high schools competed in the 30th annual event. After a series of individual and team competitions, Lakeside reclaimed the trophy.
"The trophy's a traveling trophy, so we want to bring it back home to our school," Lakeside junior Sagar Babat, 17, said during final rounds of competition. The coveted award remains at the winning school until the next annual competition.
Led by Lakeside math team coach and math teacher Lilly Good, Sagar felt extra pressure, he said, because he was on the winning team in 2003.
"It's more difficult than last year," he said. "It's been fun. I've been doing math teams for a long time."
Evans, Aiken and Williston-Elko high schools placed second through fourth respectfully.
Williston-Elko math teacher Bernard Walters, who said his team has been working weekly team tests and going to competitions in Georgia and South Carolina, was ecstatic about the fourth-place win.
"We've been preparing for years," Walters said. "We've come every year for the past 15 years, and this is the first time we got to the finals."
Awards also were given to the 10 highest scorers of the individual test. Aiken High's Brandon Kearse received a plaque for winning first place.
"I didn't think it was too difficult for me," said Brandon, 18. "I'm good at math, I like problem solving. It feels like an accomplishment when you solve problems and do well."
Second place winner Garret Thompson of Evans also received a plaque. William Stanton from Williston-Elko placed third. Certificates and medals were given for third through 10th place.
"This was the first time Williston-Elko performed so remarkably well," said associate professor of mathematics Sankar Sethuraman, who helped coordinate the competition.
The day began with an individual written exam, followed by team competition in the school's Galloway, Butler and Washington halls. Each school brought two teams of four students, plus one or two alternates. With several students enrolled in college-level math courses - the questions varied.
"We covered Algebra, probability, statistics, applied math and calculus," Sethuraman said.
Sethuraman said individual and team scores determined the four teams that would proceed to the final quick answer rounds.
Professor emeritus and former math and computer science department chair Fred Maynard started the competition 30 years ago. He retired in 2002, but now teaches part time and took part in the contest.
"I just enjoy participating with it. It's kind of fun watching them compete against each other," Maynard said of the competition, which Sethuraman called both a community outreach program and a kind of recruiting.
"It's done to promote math awareness among high school students," Sethuraman said. "We introduce the campus to students so they get to know college life, they get to know the faculty in the math department, and we hope they will choose ASU."
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