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Middle school Mathletes work their way to record books

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

 MathCounts coaches, Phuong Nguyen, Jane Lataille and the students swept the regional on competition as sixth, seventh and eighth grade students worked their way into the record books.
Participants go through a series of tests starting at the school level in January, the chapter level in February, the state level in March and for one lucky student, the national level in April.
On Feb. 8, the Hawks ran away with the Chapter Competition, at Pojoaque High School.
“This year we had one eighth grader and three seventh graders,” said Nguyen. “Unfortunately, this year the Chapter Competition was on the same day as the Science Bowl Competition, so a few students couldn’t attend both, we lost some good ones.”
The coaches agree that the students are much faster at the computations, their solutions were even better than the adults could produce and that the students have excellent visualization skills.
The teams have practiced on Tuesdays after school, since September, working through booklets of 300 problems to hone their skills, with additional practices added prior to the competition.
The competition consisted of four rounds, much like a game show, with the top 50 percent of the total teams and 25 percent of individuals advancing to the state finals.


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