Numbers are their forte: Falcon Ridge students place first in Math Masters

Falcon Ridge Middle School team members are Nathan Elango, Dillon Steeves, Sophia Wang, Damian Xu, Charlie Youtt, Mitchel Donais, Mia Moreno Abrego, Anna Singh, Samuel Streeter and Kristine Joseph. Photo submitted
Falcon Ridge Middle School team members are Nathan Elango, Dillon Steeves, Sophia Wang, Damian Xu, Charlie Youtt, Mitchel Donais, Mia Moreno Abrego, Anna Singh, Samuel Streeter and Kristine Joseph. Photo submitted

Numbers were flying through the minds of a crew of Falcon Ridge Middle School students during Saturday’s Math Masters competition, but one was the coolest number of the day.

One as in No. 1, first, singular, without peer.

Five students combined in a variety of math challenges to help Falcon Ridge place first in the 34-team tournament at Capital Hill Magnet School in St. Paul, and one team member placed first overall.

Coach Michelle Pollei said the students were very excited after the victory.

“Everyone felt as though they had won and helped contribute,” Pollei said. “They were very proud of each other and their peer’s individual accomplishments.”

Team members are Nathan Elango, Dillon Steeves, Sophia Wang, Damian Xu and Charlie Youtt.

Elango won first in the individual competition when he answered 29 of 32 challenging problems correctly. Wang and Xu placed 10th and 17th, respectively, in the challenge.

Elango also placed 17th in Fact Drill, while Youtt and Wang placed seventh and 12th, respectively. Youtt scored 67 of 75 in the challenge that has students answering the computation questions in five minutes.

Falcon Ridge’s other team of Mitchel Donais, Mia Moreno Abrego, Anna Singh, Samuel Streeter and Kristine Joseph placed 16th at the meet.

Scott Highlands, also a Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan middle school located in Apple Valley, had three teams at the meet.

The school’s Black team placed seventh while its Red and White teams did not earn a placing score.

Black team members are Nicholas Adelmann, Srish Kattegummula, Josh Neuenschwander, Charlie Ortman and Andrew Seppelt, who placed 14th in the individual competition.

The Red team includes Amy (Ze Ql Yun) Chen, Josephine Nuttling, Julia Toledo, Abhiram Valasapalli and Jash Parekh, who placed fifth in Fast Facts.

White team members are Shruti Chandrasekar, Ethan Lee, Neha Ravella, Tannen Ries and Lisette Thurman.

There were a total of 156 participants in the event, which includes individual and team rounds when students must work together to solve the problems.

To participate in Math Masters, Falcon Ridge sixth-graders earned a spot on the team after taking a placement test in their after-school Math Club that started meeting in November with more than 30 members.

The team members have been practicing during the school day on Mondays during a 25-minute session each week, in addition to other time outside of that.

Practice time is spent on computation, order of operations, probability, data and statistics, geometry, and algebraic problem solving.

Pollei said the skill level of each student varies as some take the mainstream sixth-grade math class while others are in Algebra.

Pollei said it’s great for students to do math with others who love being challenged outside of school math classes.

She said they are learning to work together as a team as they feed their interest in math with more complex questions in a competition setting.

“There is a sense of accomplishment regardless of outcome,” Pollei said.

Math Masters is an Austin, Minn.-based organization that plans competitions throughout the state for sixth- and fifth-graders.

More about the organization is at mathmastersmn.org.

Contact Tad Johnson at [email protected] or at twitter.com/editorTJ.