Mathcounts team has successful season

Courtesy photo: The students who competed at state, from left are: Ernest Ting, Joseph Michna, Dinithi Senevirathna, Alex Diersen, Shaurya Sehgal and Vedant Sharan.

BROOKINGS – Mathcounts is a middle school competition program that encourages sixth-eighth graders across the country to use their problem-solving skills to solve difficult math problems.  

This year, the competition Mathcounts season looked a little different, but that didn’t stop the Mickelson Middle School team from being successful. Normally, students are able to travel to the various competitions: school, chapter, state and nationals. But due to COVID, all of these competitions were completed on an online platform.  

MMS had 12 students participate in the chapter competition on Feb. 5. For this competition, the MMS students compete against students from other schools in the northeastern part of the state. MMS swept the top six places at this contest. 1st: Ernest Ting; 2nd: Joseph Michna; 3rd: Vedant Sharan; 4th: Alex Diersen; 5th: Shaurya Sehgal; 6th: Dinithi Senevirathna. All six of those students qualified for the next level of competition, chapter invitational.  

Chapter invitational was held Feb. 25 online. All six of those students then qualified for the state competition. 

The state competition was held online March 25. 

The MMS students competed against 25 students across the state, and they did very well at state, all placing in the top eight. 1st: Ernest Ting; 2nd: Joseph Michna; 3rd: Vedant Sharan; 5th: Dinithi Senevirathna; 6th: Shaurya Sehgal: 8th: Alex Diersen. At the state competition, the top four students are then chosen to represent Team South Dakota at the National Competition. Therefore three MMS students (Ernest, Joseph and Vedant), along with a fourth student from Vermillion (Caleb Mayrose) rounded out Team South Dakota.  

The national competition was originally going to still be held in-person at Washington, D.C. But Mathcounts made the decision to hold this online too because of the ongoing pandemic. The students and coaches met for fun activities online May 8-10. Each student received a box of individually sealed packs for them to open at specific times throughout the competition.  

The packs were full of goodies, with the favorite being a graphing calculator from Texas Instruments. The team met for various activities: fun team challenges (such as an escape room and a cryptography challenge), speakers from sponsors, and the team round of the competition where the four SD students worked together to answer 10 math problems. On the final day of nationals, the students completed the individual portion of the competition by connecting to an online proctor to take their math tests. Results and awards were given that night in an online ceremony. 

Out of the 56 states and U.S. territories that compete at national Mathcounts, South Dakota placed 53rd. So not the outcome they had hoped for, but they all had a lot of fun and put in a lot of hard work to get to nationals in the first place.

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