Math Club places fourth internationally in online competition

The Math Club placed fourth in an international online math competition on May 4. Despite online schooling, the club continues to meet digitally and participates in online competitions to continue refining their skills and stay connected with each other.

Prior to the school closing, senior and president of the Math Club Justin Yu led the club meetings Tuesdays after school to prepare for the Best of Texas contests that began Jan. 22. However, to make up for the missed competitions, the club now participates in online competitions like the Purple Comet Math Meet, a team-based online math event. 

“[Purple Comet is] perfect for our current situation,” Yu said. “[It’s] unique from other competitions, [since] it allows the use of computer programs and written resources. Naturally, [these] problems account for this fact, creating an interesting blend of math and other subjects.”

By communicating online through the use of a Discord server and weekly Zoom meetings, the team tied for fourth in the world and first in Texas for the High School 1200 and Up division, answering 28/30 questions correctly.

“I feel proud of my team’s accomplishment and hope that it continues to spark further drive in the Math Club’s future endeavors,” junior Humza Atif said.

The club won numerous awards this year including first place for the Power Team award and fourth place for Sweepstakes at the 28th Annual Texas A&M High School Mathematics Contest. Yu personally won second place for the Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry and Advanced Mathematics (EF) exam and fifth place for the Best Student-Open award. In the University of Houston Mathematics 2020 Contest, Yu placed in three separate exams.

“The actual competition went off without a hitch, with our strategy working perfectly,” Yu said. “Of course, the entire year indirectly prepared us for this through practice in various competitions. [However,] in the practice run we did the day before, there were several lapses of communication that cost us some questions. Thankfully, these were mostly patched on the big day.”

Yu has enjoyed math since he was in elementary school. Going on Khan Academy, he completed hours of math exercises without even realizing it.

“I think I’ve always had this appreciation for the subject,” Yu said. “What really got me going was going to my first [middle school] competition called Mathcounts. While I was there, I got destroyed by a lot of people. But it also gave me the opportunity to see what sort of limits the top competitors were capable of and I wanted to get up there.” 

The Math Club plans to make shirts and other merchandise in order to fundraise for competitions next year. They wish to continue competing and continue doing well in future contests.

“[When I first joined in ninth grade], I didn’t know that we would be doing competitions but that was one aspect that kept me coming back,” senior and vice president of the Math Club Minh-Khanh Phung said. “It’s fun to compete and have a community where I could talk about my interest in math and explore different topics.”