Albany Area Math Circle's A team took THIRD PLACE!!!! in a strong field of 27 teams of the top students from across New York State with a score of 205 points at Saturday's New York State Math League (NYSML) state championship meet yesterday.

To top it off, the AAMC team came closer than ever before, pointwise, to finishing even higher, since the top two scores earned by the NYC powerhouse teams were 209 and 222.

In addition to ranking third place in the A division as well as overall this year, AAMC also won a special award for "Most Improved" with a score increase of 79 points over last year's score--this was 50 points more than any other team improved at the meet! The team got 9 out of 10 on the team round (tied for first place), a very impressive 40 on the power round (tied for third place), and did better than ever on the relays, with scores of 20 on the first one and 16 on the second one.

The individual score total of 84 was extremely impressive, tying for second with AAST's out of state (and therefore unofficially unranked) NJ Powerhouse team and only 3 points behind the top NYC team. Given that NYC had 18 USAMO qualifiers this year and AAST had 11 USAMO qualifiers this year, it is extremely impressive that AAMC racked up such an impressive total.

The first time Albany Area Math Circle participated in NYSML, in 2002, we were just getting started, and it was extremely exciting for the seven AAMC students to join with members of the Niskayuna high math club to form a composite team which wound up doing better than anyone had dreamed, and taking first place in division B. That was a HUGE accomplishment, but we didn't even dare dream back then of coming close to the unbeatable top NYC powerhouse teams in division A.

It is some measure of how far we have come that we now consistently compete in division A, and those powerhouse teams are within our sights! Our score this year was 60 points above the division B champion, and other coaches in the A division view us as a "force to be reckoned with!"

To make matters even more exciting, we brought along a record-size contingent including a number of extraordinarily promising middle school students on our B team, who energetically took on a difficult challenge and did very creditably, showing great promise for the future, especially for next year when Albany Area Math Circle will be the "home team" for the meet. Kudos to our talented, brave, and energetic middle school students and to the student coaches who have mentored, encouraged, and supported them.

It was exciting to be able to bring two full teams plus a very strong group of alternate students to NYSML this year. Again, this is a measure of how far we have come. In our very first year, it was a struggle to put together a single team of 15 students (even though the competition was held in Niskayuna that year! The problems were just too scary and it was hard to find 15 students in the Capital District who were willing to spend a Saturday working on such hard problems.)

Students on AAMC A team were: Andrew Ardito (heeg), Matthew Babbitt(heeg), Dave Bieber (Niskayuna High School), Ashley Cho (Emma Willard School), Peixuan Guo (Bethlehem High School), Gurtej Kanwar (Bethlehem High School), Paul Rapoport (Albany Academy), Markus Salasoo (Niskayuna High School), Liz Simon (Guilderland High School), Schuyler Smith (heeg), Wyatt Smith (heeg), Felix Sun (Shenendahoah High School), Eric Wang (Shenendahoah), Yipu Wang (Guilderland High School), and Jay White (heeg). Our alternates were Deepak Aron (Niskayuna High School), Adam Parower (Shaker), Brady Pelkey (Hudson Falls High School), Kyungduk Rho (Guilderland High School), and Ved Tanavde (Guilderland High School). Our AAMC B team had 10 outstanding and brave middle school students along with five high school student coach participants. The middle school student members of AAMC B team were: Cecilia Holodak (Van Antwerp), Mandy Kettell (heeg), Preston Law (heeg), Isaac Malsky (Farnsworth), Zubin Mukerjee (Farnsworth), Jien Ogawa (heeg), Elizabeth Parizh (Iroquois), Gili Rusak (Loudonville Elementary), Aniket Tolpadi (Iroquois), and Troy Wang (Acadia.) Student coaches participating on the AAMC B team along with these very promising middle school students were Bea Malsky, Dana McLaughlin, and Noah Rubin from Guilderland High School, Anagha Tolpadi from Niskayuna High School, and Lindsay White from heeg. Many other math circle students have also been coaching and mentoring the students in our middle school math circles and/or on their local MATHCOUNTS teams at local middle schools--there is great promise and enthusiasm for the future.

The high scorer on the A team was Matthew Babbitt. The high scorer on the B team was Zubin Mukerjee. Adam Parower was the high scorer on the alternate 2 team.

Thanks also to all the math circle parents who made it possible for Albany Area Math Circle to participate this year--by driving carpools, helping with scoring and proctoring, and observing the competition to help us prepare for next year--as well as for everything you do to support regular math circle meetings. Thanks especially to Mr. Babbitt for organizing so many essential details to make sure that the expedition to NYSML was a success again this year! Thanks as well to Professor Krishnamoorthy for all his excellent work in helping our students prepare mathematically.

I very much appreciate all the offers of help from parents that I have received about preparing for next year, when Albany Area Math Circle will be the host team.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in and contributed to such an amazing community.

Mary O'Keeffe

Albany Area Math Circle advisor