Great minds, congruent thoughts

The Huntley High School Math Team competes in their first home meet of the year.


T. Rainey

The Math Team joins together with their first place plaque.

By Taryn Rainey

The sheets of test paper are passed out to the teenagers all sitting in a row. A second paper is passed around as scratch paper for their work. It is just a big test, but somehow, more stressful. 

They lean over their papers as they try to decipher the problems. 

Members of the team have practiced for weeks for their first meet and the time has finally come.

Huntley’s Math Team faced off against Woodstock North, Hononegah, Waucanda, and Grant High School on Saturday, Oct. 29. After three long rounds, the team earned first place as a whole, along with many awards in solo and team competitions. 

“To compare it to [before the pandemic], I think they’re really strong,” Math Team coach Laura Jenkins said. 

The younger students were the strongest today with second place in Algebra I, freshman Michelle Sobolewski, and third place, sophomore Sara Willis, being high scorers in their specific areas. Willis was the only freshman on the team last year until they were halfway through the year, and she made it to state last year.

“It’s cool to compare your answers with people, which I didn’t have before,” Willis said.

Sobolewski was stressed going into this meet, as it was her first one ever. She did not plan to join Math Team initially, even though she had always liked math. 

“My best friend joined Math Team, and he made me join,” Sobolewski said.

Sobolewski’s best friend, Nethara Subasinghe, is also her partner in the freshmen and sophomore doubles team. 

Willis and Sobolewski competed in the eight-person freshmen and sophomore team during the second round of the meet, which also won with a score of 40. The two were accompanied by sophomores Tylar Caddick, Logan Freeland, and Taylor Burger along with freshman Evelyn Li, Max Silkaitis, and Nethara Subasinghe. 

Caddick and Freeland also got second in the freshmen and sophomore two-person event during the third round of the meet. 

Both events are a mix of Geometry and Algebra I. The teams split up the problems so they can do what they know first and pace themselves, instead of scrambling for unknown answers. The teams have to answer as many questions correctly in the allotted time period. 

The highest scorers were the juniors and seniors in the in the eight-member competition with a score of 55 and 11 questions correct. On the team were juniors Madelyn Hanson, Jaymes Barker, Logan Borzych, Jeremy Chadwick, and Keira Darnall and seniors Jonathan Black, Nicholas Bom, and Will Papcke. 

Barker placed second place in Algebra II and Papcke won first in Pre-Calculus. The two were obvious assets to the eight-person team, as they could show off their strengths in both Algebra II and Pre-Calculus. 

After all three rounds of the meet, there is a candy bar contest where the entire team works together to answer 20 questions in 20 minutes in order to win a box of candy bars. This is where the team can grow closer together doing their favorite thing.

“I [like] being surrounded by people that like the same thing as me, you don’t really find people that like math,” Willis said. 

The team joined together in the final 30 minutes to receive their awards and take home their ribbons for winning. In the cafeteria, conversations between the teammates echo off the walls as they celebrate the wins over the other teams. The stress of the three rounds of testing were outweighed with the fun they had with friends.