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December 23, 2013
INDEPENDENCE — Central High School's 10-person math team, Divide and Conquer, reached the top 32 teams in its division competing in Math Madness, run by the Mathematical Association of America, before being eliminated.
The team is ranked No. 161 out of 250 ranked teams. Members of the team and adviser Laura Waight presented the results of the competition and introduced a few of the math team members at the Dec. 16 Central School Board meeting.
"This math competition thing was a real surprise," said Alayxa Yeager, freshman team member. "I'd only seen it in movies. I thought, what the heck, I like math, I'll join."
She said members of the team didn't know each other well at first, but are really good friends now.
Team member and sophomore Izzy Sanchez said the math club has been a great experience.
"It's an atmosphere where kids who love math aren't nerdy," she said. "Other kids at school consider it weird. But when we're together, it's not bad to love math, it's awesome."
Sanchez and others tell funny jokes about math.
"I was ranked 732 in the country, so I'm very proud of that," she added. That ranking is out of 12,065 participating students in the country.
Freshman Claire LeNarz, ranked 642, said she intends to use math in her career.
"I thought (the club) would be a way to use math in a fun way," she said. "It gave me the confidence to improve in the subject. I enjoyed this very much and hope we can continue."
Waight said math clubs had become very difficult for schools to support because it involved flying students around the country for competitions. This new generation of math clubs allows teams to compete online in a math lab.
"Out of more than 12,000, we had three kids in the top 1,000," she said. "We had a lot of really great successes and a lot of fun."
The third Central student to be in the top 1,000 is freshman Alex Heacock, 755th.