Irvington Places Third at Berkeley Math Contest

Last tournament of year marks the highest finish for Math Club and brings sentimental value for seniors

By Kevin Hsu | Copy Editor

Seniors Owen Wang, Aravind Sundaresan, David Wang, Michael Zhang, Evan Chen, and sophomore Cathay Wang competed at BMT.
Seniors Owen Wang, Aravind Sundaresan, David Wang, Michael Zhang, Evan Chen, and sophomore Cathay Wang competed at BMT.

Students from Irvington’s math club spent the Saturday of March 22 at UC Berkeley competing in the Berkeley Math Tournament (BMT),

which, according to the tournament website, offers teams of high school students the opportunity to share their interest in mathematics with likeminded individuals and to get a taste of the type of concepts studied in higher mathematics. Among the students from the 50 schools that participated were IHS seniors Evan Chen, Aravind Sundaresan, David Wang, Owen Wang, Michael Zhang, and sophomore Cathy Wang.

The BMT is composed of individual focus, team, and tournament rounds, and the final results are calculated based on a combination of the team and individual performances.

“There are three different individual focus tests students can sign up for: Geometry, Discrete, and Analysis,” explained Michael Zhang. “The team rounds are basically group tests on general, competitive math questions. Tournament rounds, on the other hand, consist of series of 10-minute rounds where different teams battle one-on-one against each other.”

Math Club Advisor Mrs. Rothfuss is satisfied at the students’ performances considering that Irvington is usually one of the smaller teams to compete.

“We know for sure that Harker and Mission San Jose High School are ahead of us, but [BMT] has yet to update the official results on its website,” said Mrs. Rothfuss. “However, Nathan Wong, who stayed throughout the entire competition, informed us that we finished third.”

“We didn’t think we did that well actually, so we were kind of depressed on the way back,” said David Wang. “We’re actually really happy to hear that we placed third because in previous years, we placed sixth and seventh; this is the highest finish we’ve had in the BMT so far.”

The 2014 Berkeley Math Tournament also marked the last official competition for senior IHS math club members—many of them had been actively competing in these tournaments since junior high. Seniors like Michael Zhang felt a sentimental attachment to the rigors of the competitive atmosphere and exhibited nostalgic feelings.

“There was a multitude of memorable moments. During the team round, Evan went on fire and carried the team,” said Zhang. “Overall, we collaborated nicely as a team.”

Zhang remains undaunted by the fact that a strong group of math connoisseurs will be soon graduating, and keeps his hopes up for next year’s math club.

“We have a pretty strong group of eighth graders that are coming in next year as well, so Irvington can definitely still be strong,” explained Zhang.