Math Team’s smarts sums up to success

Huntley’s math team competes at the Hononegah Invite on Jan. 29.


Huntley’s freshmen-sophomore team receiving their second-place medals. (D. Cairns)

By Delaney Cairns

The yellow bus rolled out of the parking lot at 7 a.m. with 20 of Huntley High School’s best math students. They were headed to their meet at Hononegah High School on Jan. 29.

The meet was the last opportunity for the mathletes to get acquainted with the process and practice their skills prior to the virtual conference meet on Tuesday, Feb. 1, and the regional on Feb. 26 at Rock Valley College, where the students will compete for a ticket to state.

The math team participants compete in multiple events individually, in groups of eight, and in groups of two. The competitors are brought into closed-off rooms; depending on the level and the group numbers, the questions and atmosphere vary.

The individual rooms are silent, while the two-person rooms consist of whispers and rapid problem solving, with only 3 minutes per question. The eight-person rooms are collaborative, with all of the teammates working together.

“There is a lot of chaos in the eight-person rooms,” senior Alan Taylor said.

Following the tests, the students turn in their responses and are given answer sheets to check their work. They are then scored and given awards following all of the events. Sometimes, however, mistakes are made, so the tests go through multiple sets of eyes to ensure fairness in the player’s scores.

“Two-person was fun, we got two questions right, but then the scorers realized they had messed up a question and we got three right,” senior Jack Silkaitas said.

At this specific meet, they followed the tests with a fun, number-based Jeopardy game for one student of each grade per school to participate in. They were asked questions about pop culture, geography, sports, and more, with all of the responses being numbers.

While this was going on in the auditorium, the Hononegah volunteers were compiling the scores to prepare for the upcoming awards ceremony.

In the ceremony, Huntley received three awards. Freshman Gretchen Huber won second place in Algebra I, sophomore Keira Darnall received fourth place in geometry, and the freshmen-sophomore 8-person team won second place.

“The freshmen and sophomores really brought home second place for us and the juniors and seniors did well too,” junior Sahana Rajagopalan said.

While these were not the exact results the team was hoping for, they learned, and they plan to come back better than ever for conference and regionals.