Coach: Alex Ford
It was an honor and a great pleasure to be able to coach this year’s Minnesota team at the national MATHCOUNTS competition in Washington, D.C. We were fortunate enough to be able to practice together several times before the competition, thanks to the dedication of our four team members and their parents, and with help from Mr. Prem (Eden Prairie coach) and Frank Han (last year’s fourth place overall finisher at Nationals). Thanks to both of you for your help and expertise. Here we are after one meeting where we took a break from practice problems to build an Icosahedron and a hyperboloid out of skewers and rubber bands.
We had a great flight out of MSP. Look at
The boys literally began trading pins in the airport as soon as we found another team. Here they are doing the same at registration. They got all 56 by the end!
The hotel was beautiful! So many nice spaces to meet, and a great view of downtown D.C. from the ninth floor
Here’s the team on Sunday morning, clearly ready for the competition. What else could those “thumbs up” mean?
Competition made us hungry. We found this awesome pizza place called Fuel near our hotel on the way to the National Mall. What’s the probability that five guys can agree on toppings for a large pizza in under 5 seconds? Apparently it’s 100% for our team.
Walking to see the sights!
We spent the longest time at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Lots of cool stuff to see there
Here we are at the Ellipse, where the Washington Monument towers over us. They thought it would be a nice spot to climb a tree. It was an awesome tree, though.
Here’s all of us at the World War II Memorial. Can we collect pins for all the monuments we visit too?
Ducks. Alex almost fell in.
We walked 5 miles at this point, from the Air and Space Museum to the other end of the mall where the Lincoln Memorial stands. We are tired, but press on to see it. Good thing we stopped for ice cream.
I had to.
Finally, back to the hotel on the city bus after a fantastic day of math and sightseeing. We met up with all the moms and dads for a nice dinner. No joke, all four of them ate an entire half-chicken entree.
On Monday morning we all watched with excitement as they announced the top ten teams and the finalists of the written competition who would participate in the Countdown Round. The Texas team took first, and had ALL FOUR of their team members in the Countdown Round. We would have to wait for the awards banquet to find out more. The Countdown Round was very exciting, culminating in a close race to four correct answers from the top two finishers in the written competition. Mr Ford was very pleased with himself to have answered one or two questions before any of the competitors.
After lunch we watched the four videos from the top four finalists in the Video Challenge competition. If you have not seen them, check them out here. The winning video certainly deserved recognition, but we all thought the pizza one was awesome too.
A relaxing afternoon gave way to evening as we donned our suits and ties for the awards banquet, where we would find out the winners of the video challenge.
We were a little dismayed by the dessert, since we were expecting the usual fancy chocolate calculators, but it was good anyway.
JK! Double dessert! And the chocolate was surprisingly delicious.
By now we had gotten the results of the competition, and the team did pretty well. They scored 19th overall out of 56 teams, and two of them got in the top 56 individuals (25%). Top honors went to Edward Wan of Washington State, a 7th grader who scored a perfect 46 on the written competition, and second place went to Luke Robitaille of Texas, a 6th grader. Humble congratulations all around.
We had a pretty exhausting but wonderful weekend in our nation’s capital, and frankly some of us were a bit sad to leave. We thank all of the sponsors, parents, teachers, coaches and volunteers who helped make this trip possible.