Powhatan School Wins Regional Math Championship

The Powhatan School MathCounts team has swept the field on their way to back-to-back regional championships last weekend.

The competition, hosted by the National Society of Professional Engineers, is open to Middle school teams and individuals from Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren, counties. With the victory, the Powhatan School team advances to the State Competition in March.

“We are all very proud of our Mathaletes,” said Powhatan School coach Mr. Holloway. “The students worked hard to prepare, putting in a lot of extra time on top of their regular math homework.” This year’s Powhatan Mathaletes include; Haley C., Josh D., Brinn E., Lauren I., Eli K., Owen M.-H., Julia T., and Katherine V.

Powhatan School regional math champs - Photo courtesy Powhatan School

The competition consists of three rounds total. The first round is called the Sprint Round. This is an open round of 30 questions in 40 minutes. There are no calculators in use for this round.

The second round is the Target Round. It consists of 8 questions with a calculator, within a time frame of 24 minutes. These questions are worth double points and are extremely difficult.

The final round, called the Team Round, consists of 4 team members attempting 10 questions in 20 minutes.

“The problems in MathCounts may only require the knowledge of pre- algebra, Algebra I or Geometry, but it requires a deep understanding of these subjects and sometimes to see connections quickly,” says Upper School math teacher Mr. Holloway. “Since all the problems are word problems, strong reading skills are critical.”

The MathCounts program has been around for 29 years and encourages students to excel in math. According to the MathCounts website, MathCounts is describes as the following;  “The MATHCOUNTS Competition Program provides the extra incentive and the perfect atmosphere for students to push themselves to achieve more in mathematics.  Consisting of fun and creative problems that promote critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, the MATHCOUNTS competitions have written and oral rounds, as well as individual and team components.  Though challenging and non-routine, the competition problems focus on the 6th through 8th grade standards of the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics.

Powhatan won the regional competition last year and successfully defended its title again in 2012. With the victory, the team of Eli, Nick, Julia and Haley has now qualified for the State tournament in March.

“There were 7 schools with more than 40 students participating in our region,” said Harry Holloway, Powhatan School MathCounts coach and 2011 VCTM Educator of the Year. “It is interesting when you consider that most of the public schools in the competition have more than 600 students in middle school and have a larger pool of students to draw from, while Powhatan enrolls 86 students in the Upper School (grades 6-8). However, the dedication of our students allows us to be competitive in spite of the size differences. ”

Powhatan has won 3 out of the last 4 regional competitions. Final standings from the regional competition held February 4, 2012:

       MATHCOUNTS Team Rankings:

  1. Powhatan School
  2. Daniel Morgan Middle School
  3. Admiral Byrd Middle School
  4.  James Wood Middle School
  5.  Sacred Heart Academy
  6.  Chelsea Academy

Powhatan students also finished strong in the individual competition, garnering 5 of the top 8 individual places. Powhatan 7th grader Julia T. won the overall individual competition.

       Ranked Top Individual Finishes:

  1. Julia T. 
  2. (DMMS Student)
  3. Eli K. 
  4. (DMMS Student)
  5. Haley C.
  6. (ABMS Student)
  7. Nick K.
  8. Josh D.