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Passion for math has its rewards

Posted Date: 02/16/2018

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Royster Middle School students returned home from a SEK regional math competition with several awards, but best of all they earned a spot at State.

The Royster Mathcounts team took second at the regional contest, and will advance to the State competition on March 3 at Washburn University, Topeka.

Contributing to the team score was Thomas Ramsey, who placed second overall, Britin Hanna and Matt Reustle, who finished in the top 10, and Trent Diveley.

Adam Wilcox, RMS teacher and team sponsor, admitted he was a little surprised.

“This was not the strongest team that I have,” as he had to move some individuals into team positions the week before the contest. “I know that all of my kids are good but four of the six had never been to Mathcounts before and two were sixth graders (and) one was a seventh grader. Most teams use four eighth graders as their scoring team,” Wilcox said.

“I was thrilled to see that our scoring team which had two eighth graders, one seventh grader and one sixth grader was able to do so well, (though) we do have a history of younger students finishing in the top 10.”

That was certainly the case this year.

"Matt Reustle did incredible. To finish inside the top 10 as a sixth grader is excellent. I was nervous about

putting him on the scoring team since he hasn't had much experience, but I had faith in him and he showed up big time,” Wilcox said. “The same for Blaine Smoot. Competing as a sixth grader can be intimidating, but he came in and did really well.” 

Both Smoot and Abigail Smith competed individually for Royster, and though they didn’t qualify for State, their experience helps because they learned what that test looks like and can use it in later years when they are on the scoring team, Wilcox added.  

The Mathcounts competition is made up of three separate tests. There is a 30-question section without calculators that lasts 45 minutes, four rounds of two-question sections with calculators that last eight minutes each, and a 10-question section with calculators that the entire team works on for 30 minutes.

“I love doing Mathcounts.  The kids have a lot of fun doing this and work really hard,” Wilcox said.  

Apparently the students feel the same.

“They really like doing math puzzles and word problems,” Wilcox said. “They also worked hard practicing math and learning strategies to use.”

He also credited the school’s math teachers “who have done a terrific job in the classroom teaching the kids.”


Story by: Connie Woodard


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Royster Middle School
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Chanute, Kansas 66720
Phone: 620.432.2520
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