Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Drum roll please: the mathiest person in New York State is ....

As NYSML Meet Leader and President-elect George Reuter put it, he was about to "crown the mathiest person in New York State" at the New York State Math League state high school championship math meet on Saturday.

Hundreds of New York State's strongest and most enthusiastic math students had gathered in the UAlbany Campus Center ballroom, waiting expectantly for the exciting tiebreak round that would determine which of the perfect scorers would be declared the individual winner of the state championship math meet.

Meet Leader George Reuter called forward the following students with perfect scores on the individual written round to the front of the auditorium for the tiebreak problems.

Perfect Scorer List

Albany Area Math Circle A: Matthew Babbitt, Eric Wang

Bergen County Academies for the Advancement of Science & Technology Mu A: Jin-Sung Na, Alex Zhu

Monroe County A: Allen Liu

Nassau County A: Michael Hodgson, Keaton Stubis

New York City Brooklyn/Staten Island: Yevgeniy Rudoy, Mikhail Rudoy, Yichi Zhang

New York City Clio: Junda Huang, Hon Wei Khor

New York City Louie & Leo (Alternate 1): Max Weinrich

New York City Manhattan: Andre Arslan

NYC Queens/Bronx: Billy Lam, Kevin Peng

Westchester County A: Brian Froehlich

Professor Leo Schneider, the author of all NYSML problems for many years, conducted the tiebreak round. After an initial question, the field of finalists narrowed to three and the state title hung in the balance, hinged on submitting the first correct answer to the following question:

At the end of the allotted time of four minutes, the judges examined the answers which had been submitted, and a clear winner emerged and was declared the champion:

Allen Liu from Monroe County

The audience's jaws dropped in astonishment: Allen is only a sixth grader--to my knowledge he is the first sixth grader to win NYSML, quite possibly even the first middle school student ever to do so--and yet he had clearly concocted an elegant and sophisticated approach to answering the problem in order to arrive at the correct answer so efficiently. (If you can't see how to do this problem in four minutes, you have a lot of distinguished company! Prof. Schneider presented a detailed solution for the benefit of the rest of us mere mortals. You can see the answer and the beginning of his solution approach here.)

The photo below shows NYSML meet officials George Reuter and Mike Curry presenting Allen with his prizes, which include a scholarship check and a state high school math meet champion T-shirt that will surely fit him some day eventually down the road. (Allen should look a bit familiar to readers of this blog, because he won the New York State MATHCOUNTS middle school competition held last month. In addition, he has qualified for the USA Math Olympiad for the second consecutive year.)

You may notice that George Reuter is looking especially excited--that excitement might stem from the fact that he is also the coach of the Upstate NY Math Team that will travel to compete at the national version of this contest, ARML, to be held in early June. Allen is from the Rochester area and was on the Upstate NY ARML team last year. Allen has demonstrated outstanding maturity, grace, poise, and decorum as well as great mathematical problem-solving abilities. He will clearly be a huge asset to the Upstate NY team this year and for many years to come.

The remaining students with perfect scores from the written individual round were all officially declared as tied for second place and also received plaques from NYSML Meet Leader George Reuter. For the first time ever, the perfect scorer list included students from our math circle: heeg freshman Matthew Babbitt (in the plaid jacket immediately below) and Shenendahoah High School senior Eric Wang (shown at bottom holding his plaque.) A complete list of students with perfect scores from all leagues will be posted here as soon as I receive a copy from the meet officials.

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