The fifth annual NCMATYC Math Competition was held on Saturday, November 22th at Catawba Valley Community College, which welcomed a record number of participating schools (12) and students (93). Hosts Catawba Valley won the tournament for the first time since the inaugural competition in 2010, becoming the fourth school to win in the last four years and marking the second time in four years that the host school has won the competition. Wake Tech’s Main Campus team took second place by virtue of winning a tiebreak with their sister campus, Wake Tech North, who took home the third-place trophy.
The competition consists of two events. The first of these is a 40-question, 90-minute multiple-choice calculus test that each student takes individually. The top four scorers each win a plaque and a Visa gift card from NCMATYC. The Visa gift cards ranged from $200 for the winner to $50 for fourth place. Thomas Beasley of CVCC and Omar Saffouri of Wake Tech tied for first, with Beasley consigning Saffouri to a second-place finish for the second year in a row via a tiebreak. Jisub Kim of Wake Tech took third ahead of Central Carolina’s Jordan McKay in yet another tiebreak. All of these tiebreaks served to add further drama to what is already an exciting day.
The second event is a team competition in which students are grouped into teams of three or four and collaborate to solve problems in a range of precalculus subjects as quickly as possible to earn as many points as possible over ten rounds. This makes for a lively afternoon full of groans and cheers when each correct answer is revealed and tension when the cumulative scores are posted. One of Catawba Valley’s teams won this event by a comfortable margin of 13 points, achieving the largest score, 70, and the most correct answers, 9, in the history of the competition. A team from Central Carolina finished in second, followed by one of the Wake Tech (Main Campus) teams. Members of the top three teams received Olympic-style medals and gift certificates from Best Buy.
This year’s competition was the most well-attended to date. Twelve schools participated, bettering the previous high of ten last year. We had 93 students register, topping last year’s record of 72 students. Special mention goes to first-time attendees Central Carolina Community College, Central Piedmont Community College, and Robeson Community College. It is also worth noting that we had, for the second year in a row, an out-of-state guest in the form of the University of North Georgia-Oconee.
One bright addition to this year’s competition was “Lica-land”, a group of problems created by Vasilica Marhao of CVCC and set up for students to work on during morning registration and lunch. Students submitting correct answers had their names put in a hat, and prizes were awarded for students whose names were drawn at random.
The folks at Catawba Valley, particularly site coordinator Michael Boone, deserve great praise for all of their hard work that resulted in a smooth, well-organized event full of fun for everyone. Thanks also to all the faculty members who took time to create a team, set up practices, and spend a Saturday so that their students can experience the thrills of competition and the pride in solving previously unencountered problems. Please consider doing the same for your students and participating in our 2015 competition next November. Please contact Chris Mansfield at email@example.com for details.
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