On Tuesday, April 4, the Lincoln Academy Math Team won the Maine Class B State Championship at the State Math Meet in Augusta. They placed second in all classes, with only the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone scoring higher in all of Maine.
“I didn’t think we would do that well at such a high level,” said math team coach Libby Mooney, who teaches math and science at Lincoln Academy. “Since I have been a coach, Lincoln has never placed that high in a State level meet, because the competition is fierce.”
“I was checking the scores after each round, and after the first round we were ahead of some big schools, like Bangor and John Bapst. Then we were ahead after the second round too! We didn’t do as well in the third round, but we managed to stay on top! I have never done that in my career–it was really exciting.”
Like in earlier season math meets, ten competitors on each team compete in six 12-minute rounds of three problems each. After each 12-minute round, the answers are scored by judges, and points are awarded for correct answers. After the first two rounds, senior Novak Chen had two perfect scores.
Chen was Lincoln Academy’s high scorer for the meet, followed by sophomore Jemma Tang and senior Jacob Brown.
“I think last year’s team was better,” said Jemma Tang, a sophomore from China who is new to Lincoln this year, “but we were ready that day, and we did did well at the [State Championship] meet.”
How did the team get ready for such a big meet? “We discussed problems on the bus to the Augusta Civic Center, and everyone encouraged each other,” said Tang. “We thought of it more as a field trip than as a competition, since we didn’t think we would win. Ms. Mooney told us, ‘we are here to have fun. This is a special meet. Whatever place you get I will be proud of you.’ The bus ride helped us get in the mood, and then Novak had a perfect round!” After that, Tang said, the team settled in and continued to improve throughout the meet.
Tang credits Jacob Brown with being a team leader throughout the season. “Jacob is like a god. He can solve any problem. He helps all of us.”
Brown, who is also a National Merit Finalist, won the Lou Puriton award for placing sixth for cumulative scoring across the entire season. He will compete at the National Math meet as part of the Maine All-Star team later this spring.
After winning States, six members of the Lincoln Academy Math team will go on to compete in the New England Championships in Canton, Massachusetts on April 28, where, once again, the competition will be fierce. Ms. Mooney will bake her traditional brownies and hope for the best.
“Our secret is teamwork,” she says. “Individually we do fine, but as a team, we are outstanding.”