Members of the 2018-19 Lincoln Academy Math team with Coach Libby Mooney (far right)

On March 6th, the Lincoln Academy Math Team brought home the Central Maine Math League (CMML) Class B Championship trophy for the fourth time in five years. They are ranked second in the state heading into the State Championship meet on April 2.

LA mathletes won a number of individual awards at the end of the regular season. Senior Antony Wu was the top scorer in the League with a total of 271 points for the five meets in the season. Senior William Doan and junior Quinn Straus tied for third place in the League, each scoring 254 points in the season. Antony Wu also placed first in the League among seniors, and Quinn Straus placed first in the League among juniors. Other students who placed individually for the year were seniors William Doan, Stella Shi, Wendy Qin, Jemma Tang, Wenxin Liang, and Jake Liu, junior Benji Pugh, and sophomores Muyao Sun and Bao Dang.

“The Central Maine Math League is our conference championship,” said LA math and physics teacher Libby Mooney, who coaches the team along with community member Tristan Plumb. “We have had a lot of success this year thanks to our strong class of seniors.”

At a typical math meet the top ten scorers for each team compete at one time. Competitors have 12 minutes to answer three problems in each of five rounds. After the timer goes off, the answers are scored by judges, and points are awarded for correct answers. Of the three questions in each round, Mooney explains, “the first problem most kids can do. The second one about half can do, and the third problem only a few can do correctly. A perfect round, with all three questions right, earns 12 points. The most any one student can get at a meet is 60 points, and that is very hard to do. Until last year I had never had a perfect score in my career as a coach. Last year Antony [Wu] had one. This year we have had five: Antony had one perfect meet this year, William [Doan] had two, and Quinn [Straus] had two. That gives you an idea of the strength of this team.”

At the recent CMML Regional Championship, “seven kids [on the LA team] scored 40 points or above, which is truly impressive,” said Mooney.

Based on current scores, Lincoln ranks second in the state for all classes behind the Maine School for Science and Math (MSSM) in Limestone, who always fields an excellent team. “MSSM is our biggest rival,” said Mooney. “We have beaten them twice this year, which was another great accomplishment for this team.”

Mooney is quick to list the benefits of joining math team. “Math team supports the curriculum. Students learn skills, like trigonometry, that they use in the classroom. They learn to structure their time better during tests. For students who really like math, this team is the place to be.” And, most importantly, “they get brownies after school. That is my best pitch for recruiting new members–kids love the brownies.”
There is a lot of camaraderie on the team: working together helps create friendships between local and international students, according to Mooney. “Learning the skills they need for competition, kids really come together as a team. It is true that there are more international than local students on the team, but after a while we all forget who is from where, and we are just a team.”

The LA team will compete at the State Math Meet on April 2, where 100 teams from high schools all over the state will vie for the state championship. This is a much bigger pool for the LA team than Regionals, and in the words of Mooney, “the competition is crazy!” Still, armed with sharpened pencils (and Ms. Mooney’s brownies), this well-practiced team of young minds will give it their best shot.