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    The defending state and national champion math team celebrates with their array of awards after winning their second consecutive state convention. (Photo/Joanne Haner)
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Math team wins big at states

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The math team really made it count this past weekend at the Florida Association of Mu Alpha Theta (FAMAT) state convention. Students qualified for the state competition by performing well in the previous competitions this school year. The 48 team members departed on Thursday, April 19 to the DoubleTree Hilton in Orlando to gear up for the competition. Students competed between three to five hours a day, racking in many awards.

As for the team competitions, Heritage took home various top awards. Juniors Emily Namm, Martin Pena, Kevin Yeung and Jacob Mass took home first place in the Statistics Bowl. In the Hustle team competition, sophomores Arnav Kumar and Michelle Zhu and juniors  Andrew Ma and Saaketh Vedantam brought home the first place award as well. On top of that, seniors Kishan Patel and Max Ranis, along with juniors Vladyslav Oleksenko and Saaketh Vedantam won first place in the Calculus Bowl. Various teams also won second place awards, including sophomores Connor Gordon, Arnav Kumar, Carol Jiang and Logan Kapit in the Alpha Bowl (Pre-Calculus), freshmen Jae Young Beck, Vasisht Ganesh, Iris Lang and Shreyas Sama in the Theta Bowl (Geometry/Algebra II) and Jae Young Beck, Connor Gordon and Vladyslav Oleksenko in the Relay Team competition.

Individual competition results proved just as outstanding. Junior Saaketh Vedantam earned first place awards in all eight tests he took, including both the previous team competitions mentioned and Calculus ciphering, Speed math, Mental math and Calculus individual. “It felt pretty good to win, especially when my school backs me up and celebrates. But, the best victory definitely came when our whole school won, not just me,” Vedantam said.

With all of the awards won by Heritage students, many could not contain their excitement. The team got to defend their state championship title they earned last year, and can now call themselves “back-to-back champions.”

“The reason this victory was so important to us is because of the amount of work and dedication each member of our team has put into it. Every person who went to the State Convention had to put numerous hours every day into practice in order for us to be able to defend our school’s title. Of course, anyone who spends so much time working and preparing for something like that, obviously really wants it. We were determined to win again this year, just like we won last year, so we made every bit count. When we finally achieved our goal, I could not have been prouder of my team,” junior Vlad Oleksenko said.

Not only did the seniors get to take home a win at their last state competition, but they also returned home on Saturday night to attend prom. “Finding out we won was really exciting. It made prom even better,” senior Zhengyang (Jim) Liu said.

The rest of the team trekked home the following Sunday with multiple trophies in hands and smiles on their faces, as they begin to prepare for the National Competition in Colorado this July.

“We compete against some excellent schools in Florida. It was very exciting to win. The team has been working hard and we’re so proud of them. Next hurdle: Nationals!” said  math team sponsor and competitive Pre-Calculus teacher Mrs. Leigh Chin.

Sloane is a senior at American Heritage and holds the role of Assistant Editor in Chief and Cover Story Editor of the Patriot Post. Her love of both writing and design drew her into the world of communications. She serves as the president of the Pre-Law Society and Habitat for Humanity (AHS Chapter) and often works with children through UNICEF and Kids in Distress. Sloane also has a passion for fashion that she loves to share with others.

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