Math team comes home in second place

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The math team lines up for a group photo, displaying their competition trophies. “We are happy with the results; at the end of the day, second place is still very good at a national competition,” senior Connor Gordon said. “However, we still are not satisfied. We’ve wanted first place for a long time, and now that we have had a taste of it two years ago, we want it back more than ever.” (Photo/Joanne Haner)

While most students were on vacation, the Heritage Mu Alpha Theta (MAO) team competed in nationals. The team came in second to longtime math rival Buchholz High School in the MAO national competition in Las Vegas July 14-19, mirroring the results of the state competition. Although second place was not the team’s preferred placement, this achievement was no easy feat considering 50 schools from all across the country competed with the same goal.

“This placement was, to some degree, expected,” senior Connor Gordon, MAO co-president and Mu competitor, said. “We certainly have the ability to win by a comfortable margin, but after some rough performances early on, most of us were expecting it.”

Preparation for the nationals competition took shape over the course of the entire year through buildup from smaller competitions and extended into the summer. Practice consisted of at-home practice tests and in-school testing during the week and on Saturdays, summing up to at least 12 hours a week dedicated to MAO. The math team ended up with 18 first place trophies and 9 perfect scores, supplemented with 94 placements in the top 10.

As for why the team came runner up, co-president Gordon places some of the blame on the team’s younger competitors. “Our younger divisions were not able to keep up with our rival’s. They’re still a wonderful, bright group of students, but there is definitely still a lot of work to do for them,” Gordon said. “In the past two years, [Buchholz’s underclassmen] have been the strongest we have ever seen from them, resulting in a large margin in the younger divisions that the older divisions have not been able to compensate for.”

Gordon added that the team’s students tend to catch up to Buccholz’s in later years, but he hopes to start that trend earlier. “The primary thing I want to focus on [is] getting our younger students more immersed into the club and keeping them closer to our rival’s younger students,” he said.

The math team made Heritage history two years ago after winning first place in nationals. However, the school has fallen short in the two following national competition with consecutive second-place victories. Despite the general disappointment surrounding the second-place placement, there remains a hopeful air surrounding the team. “If we work harder this year, we have a chance of getting first,” sophomore Saathvik Selvan said. “Second place was a disappointment since we’ve come in first before, but this will only motivate people to study harder and perform better next year.”

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Kristen is a senior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. She is the co-Editor-in-Chief of The Patriot Post, President of Student Government and co-founder of the non-profit Friends for Fosters. Kristen loves keeping up with politics, watching Netflix, reading and sleeping in. She considers herself a nerd due to her massive video game and comic collection.

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