Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chapter MATHCOUNTS congratulations!

Today's Chapter MATHCOUNTS competition had the toughest competitive field I have seen over a dozen years of attending chapter MATHCOUNTS competitions, thanks in part to the excellent coaching of so many teams by so many excellent AAMC student coaches.

The top three individuals on writtens Greg Hickey (#1), Eric Wu (#2), and Zubin Mukerjee (#3), as well as the Countdown oral round winner, Aniket Tolpadi, were all coached by AAMC student coaches.

Nine out of the top 12 students in the Countdown Round at today's MATHCOUNTS Chapter Competition were also students coached by Albany Area Math Circle student coaches.

The top six teams in the chapter were all either coached by AAMC student coaches or included individual students coached by AAMC student coaches.

The heeg team placed sixth in the team standings, and had two members in the top 20: Preston Law and Jien Ogawa. Preston placed among the top 6 individuals on writtens and will advance to state as an individual. AAMC members Zagreb Mukerjee and Matthew Babbitt have been coaching the heeg team, and several of their members also attend the Monday evening middle school math circle that Zagreb and Matt have been leading.

The Van Antwerp team placed fifth in the team standings. They had a perfect team round and team member Bridget Schreiner placed 10th on the written and participated in the countdown. AAMC member Dave Bieber has been coaching their team, several of whose members also attend either the Monday evening math circle and/or the Friday afternoon middle school math circle.

The Iroquois team placed fourth in the team standings. They also had a perfect team round and team members Elizabeth Parizh and Aniket Tolpadi both made the top 12 Countdown Round. Both Elizabeth and Aniket made the semifinals of Countdown, and Aniket ultimately won the entire countdown. Elizabeth and Aniket as well as several of their teammates are members of the Friday afternoon middle school math circle, and AAMC member Anagha Tolpadi coached the entire Iroquois team.

The Shaker team placed third in the team standings, had a perfect team round, and the entire team will advance to state. Team member Greg Hickey, a member of our Friday afternoon middle school math circle. coached by Andrew Ardito, won first place on the written contest. Team member Gili Ruszak, a member of the Monday evening middle school math circle, placed 13th on writtens, narrowly missing out on countdown due to tiebreaks. Gili's accomplishments are all the more remarkable because she is only a sixth grader.

The Acadia team (coached by AAMC students Felix Sun and Eric Wang) placed second in the team standings and the entire team will advance to state. The entire team has also been attending Friday afternoon middle school math circle. Team member Eric Wu ranked second on the writtens, and his teammates Jessica and Troy Wang ranked 7th and 11th, respectively, on the writtens.

The Farnsworth team placed first in the team standings and the entire team will advance to state. Farnsworth's delegation included Zubin Mukerjee, a member of the Monday night middle school math circle and Isaac Malsky, a member of the Friday afternoon middle school math circle. Zubin Mukerjee led the team to their team championship victory with a third place individual rank on writtens.

Other exciting notes: there was a better representation of girls among the top students than at any time I can remember over the past decade. In many years, there have been 0, 1 or 2 girls in the Countdown Round. This year, there were four girls in the Countdown and at least 7 girls among the top 20! At least five of those were coached by Albany Area Math Circle students.

Congratulations to all the students and coaches who participated in this extremely challenging event. All of us coaches know how easy it is to misread a question under time pressure, to write down the "right answer to the wrong question," to make a problem harder than it was intended to be, and dozens of other pitfalls of competition..

Please know that we are proud of all who prepared and tried hard in this competition---we congratulate those who advanced to state and/or brought home trophies, but the "ultimate trophy" is the development of problem solving skills we have seen among all the students who have been inspired and coached by our high school student coaches!

With such a strong competitive field at chapter MATHCOUNTS, it is inevitable that many exceptionally strong and well-prepared students will be unable to participate in the state MATHCOUNTS competition,.

I hope that our student coaches can encourage our many strong middle school students, both those advancing and those not advancing, by telling them about the many exciting high school math contest opportunities, which are much more broadly open than state and national MATHCOUNTS.

In particular, I hope that our AAMC student coaches will encourage and inspire many of the strong middle school students who are ready for greater challenges to accompany us on a B-team to NYSML on April 25, so they can get a small taste of the excitement that lies ahead.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Physics olympiad congratulations!

Three students from Albany Area Math Circle, Andrew Ardito, Dave Bieber, and Yipu Wang, have placed on the top 400 students national list from the first level of the USA Physics Olympiad contest they took in January along with 4,000 strong physics students from all over the country.

Andrew, Dave, and Yipu will now advance to the next level of physics olympiad contest this Saturday. This is the second step in a sequence of contests leading to selection of the 24 students who will constitute the USA Physics Olympiad team, which will train at the University of Maryland in late May. At the conclusion of that training camp, five of those 24 will be designated as members of the traveling team that will represent the USA at the 2009 International Physics Olympiad to be held in Merida Mexico this summer.

Good luck to Andrew, Dave, and Yipu on Saturday!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

AAMC team takes 3rd place overall in Princeton U Math Competition A division!

Congratulations to our Albany Area Math Circle and the students who participated at the Princeton University Mathematics Competition (PUMaC) yesterday: the picture above shows team members Wilson Cheung, Matthew Babbitt, Andrew Ardito, Schuyler Smith, Yipu Wang, Dave Bieber, and Gurtej Kanwar. Team member Wyatt Smith is missing from the photo.

The Princeton competition draws participants from all over the country and has been VERY competitive historically. This makes the following excellent individual and team results all the more exciting and fun to announce!

Individual honors went to Schuyler Smith (10th place combinatorics) and Andrew Ardito (4th place number theory, 6th place combinatorics, 5th place overall.)

Team honors were: 4th Place Power Round, 3rd Place Team Round Division A, and 3rd Place Overall Team Division A.