Math Day awards $34K to Nebraska high school students

· 4 min read

Math Day awards $34K to Nebraska high school students

Tucker Merz, Justin Ernst and Preston Deckinger of Falls City High School ponder a math question posed by UNL's Mark Walker as they take on a team from Seward High School on Nov. 21.
Craig Chandler | University Communications
Tucker Merz, Justin Ernst and Preston Deckinger of Falls City High School ponder a math question posed by UNL's Mark Walker as they take on a team from Seward High School on Nov. 21.

The UNL Department of Mathematics hosted a record-breaking Math Day on Nov. 21, with more than 1,500 high school students in attendance.

This year’s competition was the 24th annual and welcomed 1,549 students from 109 Nebraska high schools who competed for $34,000 in UNL scholarships. The event is designed to spark high school students’ interest in math, to encourage them to pursue a career in mathematics or the mathematical sciences, and to recognize outstanding mathematical ability.

The all-day event consisted of the PROBE I and PROBE II individual competitions and the fast-paced Math Bowl double-elimination team competition.

Ingrid Zhang of Lincoln East was the top individual contestant, winning an $8,000 scholarship to UNL. The second-, third- and fourth-place finishers, all winners of $4,000 scholarships, were Ian Howell of Omaha North, Jae Hyun Lim of Lincoln East and Zach Warneke of Millard South.

The team champions in the Math Bowl tournament were Lincoln East in Class I, Elkhorn in Class II, Norris in Class III, Lincoln Christian in Class IV, Harvard in Class V and College View Academy in Class VI. In the team competition, schools were grouped by enrollment.

Students start with the multiple choice, preliminary exam called PROBE I (Problems Requiring Original and Brilliant Effort). The top 40 students move on to take an essay exam called PROBE II. The top 10 on PROBE II are awarded four-year scholarships to UNL. These scholarships are generously supported by the Dean H. and Floreen G. Eastman Memorial Fund for Mathematics, the Gallup Math Day Fund, the UNL College of Engineering, and the UNL Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

The team competition was determined by averaging the top scores from each school on PROBE I. The team math bowl tournament, which was double elimination, pitted three member teams against each other (up to two alternates per team allowed). Both team competitions divided the field up by school size, with trophies given to the top two teams in each category. All the questions assumed students have taken two years of high school algebra, trigonometry and one year of geometry. The answers to PROBE II questions required the creativity and originality expected from only the very best students.

This was the largest Math Day in UNL history. The past record for participation was set in 1999, when 1,434 students took part. Last year, 1,389 students from 99 schools participated.

Math Day 2013 summary results:

Math Bowl Tournament (team members in parentheses) Class I – 1, Lincoln East (Jae Hyun Lim, Akshay Rajagopal, Ingrid Zhang); 2, Omaha North (Derek Chew, Ian Howell, Brad Tuttle) Class II – 1, Elkhorn (Colton Leal, Wyatt Osborn, Anthony Sufficool); 2, Omaha Creighton Prep (Kieran Kelly, Don Nguyen, Alex Vetter) Class III – 1, Norris (Bryson Anderson, Matt Rohman, Nick Wieskamp); 2, Mount Michael Benedictine (Jonathan Collins, Eun Woo Jee, Young Joon Park) Class IV – 1, Lincoln Christian (Natalie Bui, Yichen Sun, Zehao Song); 2, Elmwood-Murdock (Trevor Lockman, Kyle Bogatz, Quintin Baumeister, Brenna Backemeyer, Daniel Goudie) Class V – 1, Harvard (Paden Derr, Mikayla Novak, Douglas Johnson); 2, East Butler (Moriah Barta, Zebulon Cooper, Cole Trojan) Class VI – 1, College View Academy (Brady Darrough, Jonathan Deemer, Quentin Peacock); 2, Hyannis (Tanner Holthus, Frannie Young, Chelsea Nollette).

Probe I Team Competition (Maximum possible team score is 100) Class I – Lincoln East (95.00); Omaha Central (84.20); Omaha North (83.80); Millard North (82.60); Millard South (76.60) Class II – Omaha Brownell-Talbot (89.00); Omaha Creighton Prep (78.00); Elkhorn South (76.00); Elkhorn High (70.60); Lincoln Pius X (68.00) Class III – Mount Michael Benedictine (91.50); Norris (72.75); Omaha Skutt (67.75); Omaha Duchesne (64.00); Beatrice (54.75) Class IV – Lincoln Christian (78.00); Concordia Lutheran (70.33); Kearney Catholic (56.67); Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca (55.33); Elmwood-Murdock (51.67) Class V – Nebraska Evangelical Lutheran (73.33); East Butler (67.33); Harvard (67.00); Emerson-Hubbard (55.67); Nebraska Christian (55.33) Class VI – Leigh (57.67); Osceola (51.33); College View Academy (48.67); Kenesaw (47.33); Shickley (46.00).

PROBE II: (scholarship competition; awards are four-year totals): 1, Ingrid Zhang, Lincoln East, $8,000; 2, Ian Howell, Omaha North, $4,000; 3, Jae Hyun Lim, Lincoln East, $4,000; 4, Zach Warneke, Millard South, $4,000; 5, Ryan Goding, Omaha Central, $4,000; 6, Ivy Wang, Brownell-Talbot, $2,000; 7, Young Joon Park, Mount Michael Benedictine, $2,000; 8, Kenny Yang, Brownell-Talbot, $2,000; 9, Felix Cui, Lincoln East, $2,000; 10 (tie), Alan Alahmad, Millard North, $2,000; 10 (tie), Jae Jun Park, Mount Michael Benedictine, $2,000; 10 (tie), Jessica Zhou, Brownell-Talbot, $2,000.

PROBE I Top Three Students: Females – 1 (tie), Joo Hyun Kim, Nebraska Evangelical Lutheran, and Ingrid Zhang, Lincoln East; 3 (tie), Anna Matthes, Lincoln East, and Ivy Wang, Brownell-Talbot. Males – (all tied) Wyatt Osborn, Elkhorn; Michael Svolos, Omaha Central; Zach Warneke, Millard South.

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