Crunching Numbers


Ben Kunkel, Guest Contributor

Math has been the bane of many students’ high school experiences, but for those on the Math Team it is a challenging and thought-provoking activity that is looked forward to at the end of the day.

Math Team meets twice a month after school on Tuesdays where students get together to practice and prepare for competitions. It is available for all of those with a love of math and a willingness to challenge their mind. Students who are interested in the club can come to any of the after-school meetings to get started.

There are between 20-40 active people on the Math Team throughout the year. All skill levels of mathematicians are encouraged to give the team a shot. The Math Team attempts to gain more members through their teacher recruiting students form higher level math classes.

“Generally, we have teachers of the honors math classes recruit students to participate,” said Ryan Estabrook, a long-time teacher and leader of Math Team.

The Math Team at Geneva has been around for over 20 years and continues to have regular meetings and schedule competitions with other schools. For practice the teachers give the members different tests and offer suggestions on how to do the various problems they worked on.

The Math Team competes in numerous competitions throughout the year where they have “event-like” activities.

“Some competitions have everyone completing the same 6 problems,” said Mary Glinke, a teacher and leader of the Math Team. “These problems are not tied to any specific math class but are approachable from many angles.  Other competitions divide the competitors up by grade level.  Freshmen compete by doing problems from Algebra 1 topics, Sophomores on Geometry, Juniors on Algebra 2, and Seniors on Pre-Calc.”

Math Team has already had their first competition of the year with the team finishing 12th in the state overall. There next competitions are already scheduled to take place.

“We have another IML challenge next Tuesday, November 16 as well as one on Tuesday, December 7,” Glinke said.

Mr. Estabrook also had some input on competitions held for the Math Team where he talked about possibly the most important events held for the team.

“In February and March, we have a conference competition as well as a regional competition to qualify for state,” Estabrook said.

With the pandemic being a tumultuous time, the Math Team was forced to adjust having to make many different changes to their normal competition style and frequency.

“Last year, we had a few competitions cancelled because of COVID,” said Glinke. “Also, the competitions that did not get cancelled got held virtually.  We were still able to compete and have fun, but it is a different dynamic when competing virtually.”

All students are encouraged to give Math Team a try as it is a fun and engaging way to practice a subject that people usually find tedious and uneventful. It’s also a great way for people to gain a further understanding of all high school Math subjects and possibly take their skills into the math field beyond high school.