Editor in Chief
San Marcos’ best math students buzzed to the top of the Santa Barbara County math scene at the 28th annual Westmont Math Competition on January 30 at Westmont College. Both the upper division and lower division teams placed second in their respective divisions.
The upper division teams were comprised of seniors Megan McQueen, Kellen Romano, Olivia Sturman, and Natalie Musik, plus junior Philipp Naumann. The lower division teams included sophomores Alex Hauslund, Louise Naumann, David Dinklage, and Kadin Donahoe. Students were selected for the competition by Mr. Egbert, the Math Club advisor. The teams prepared for many weeks prior to the event, practicing with team and individual questions.
In an attempt to separate the good math students from the great math students, the event included an individual written exam, College Bowl, and “Chalk Talk”. Because this was the 28th annual competition, this year’s Chalk Talk theme was centered around “perfect numbers”, numbers whose divisors add up to the number itself. Creators of the Westmont Competition took full advantage of this rare perfect number, 28 (whose factors are 1, 2, 4, 7, and 14). Math Club President Megan McQueen represented San Marcos in the Chalk Talk, giving a brief presentation on perfect numbers. The College Bowl is the stereotypical buzzer competition where contestants eagerly pound the buzzer and wait anxiously to hear if their answer is correct. Both teams made it to the second round, but lost to Santa Barbara in the finals.
“The highlight of the event was the College Bowl,” said McQueen. “It’s essentially what you see in those geek movies: the beep, and frantic hand-raising and the intense few seconds before you hear if you got a question right or wrong.”
Junior Philipp Naumann had high praises for the event.
“The Westmont Math Competition is a great way for people who love math to compete with neighboring schools,” said junior Philipp Naumann. “I liked the math bowl questions, and the free response math section because they had interesting questions that challenged me to think and relate math concepts.”
McQueen and her team encourage anyone with a gift or interest in math to join Math Club.
“Math enthusiasts can get involved by contacting me this school year via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via facebook, or at any time by going into I-08 and talking to Mr. Egbert,” said McQueen. We meet on Mondays and host monthly competitions on the first Monday of each month. It’s low-pressure and low-stress–a great way to test your skills at contest math without the intensity of a buzzer competition.”