The Evanstonian

Math team sends students to state following great season

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A student practices math problems.

A student practices math problems.

Litzy Segura

Litzy Segura

A student practices math problems.

Zachary Bahar, News Editor

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Persistence.

    After a year of competition, the Evanston Math Team has made it to the State Contest in Peoria on May 5th.

    “The hard work over the year is paying off, and it was a really great experience to see that,” freshman contestant Ezra Steinberg said.

    The team, ranked 10th in their league, have earned 1205 points throughout the season. Points are rewarded based on correct answers. The league, the North Suburban Math League (NSML), also includes schools like New Trier, Stevenson, Walter Payton, Niles West/South, and Maine South/East.

    “We have generally finished in 11th, 12th, or 13th [both in the season and at state],” Coach Andrew Segall said. “The team is practicing weekly and the effort that they are putting in is clear.”

    The team covers a litany of topics over the year, changing focuses with each contest. While the overall year has a theme — Geometry, Algebra, or Trigonometry — each contest focuses on a specific topic per grade level, which are chosen at the start of the year. These topics range from probability and logarithms, to Markov Chains and Parametric equations.

    “The team exposes you to a deeper level of understanding on topics that you would normally only understand at a basic level,” senior Mallen Clifton said. “It has exposed me to different ways of thinking, and forces you to think outside the box in order to succeed.”

   Yet, learning the depths of mathematics isn’t the only benefit too team members. It makes them better people as well by forcing them outside of their safe zone, both academically and socially, according to some team members.

    “The skills of practicing effectively, learning new material and working with people of different backgrounds are incredibly valuable,” Segall said. “It [math team] makes you a better problem solver because you are constantly being exposed to problems that you’ve never dealt with.”

    Beyond teaching valuable skills and life lessons, there is a tight bond among the members of the team.

    “It gives you a sense of community, and it gives you an element of competitiveness that you might not get if you don’t play sports,” Clifton said.

    Five meets each composed of five contests occur throughout the year. These contests are done by grade level alongside an oral contest, with a possible 350 points per meet. In addition to this, a regional meet is held that determines which teams will advance to state. Teams which either have a group winning one of the nine events (the most number of points in the event), or which win the meet as a whole (most points total) advance onwards. In Evanston’s case, the team as a whole ended in second, closely behind New Trier.

    Several event teams have already qualified for state, and the rest of the team will likely advance on a wild card. The memories formed at practices an contests throughout the year also motivate students to compete.

    “I’ve meet one of my best friends through math team; we never would have met otherwise,” Clifton said. “At state you remember the contest along with the time you spend with friends hanging out.”

     While the team may not be the most well known team among the student body, the accomplishments of its members are no less remarkable; with a season total of 1205 points, 241 per meet, which places the team tenth in the league, winning one meet, and scoring top three in four out of five meets. Part of the reason for the success that the team has had can be attributed to the devotion of the coaches involved.

    “Other schools marvel at the number of coaches that we have, and I think the reason that we have so many is that we enjoy working with our students and seeing them succeed so much,” Segall said.

    “Besides, if you are doing something you like, you should keep doing it; life needs to be fun sometimes,” Steinberg said.

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Math team sends students to state following great season