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UNL Math Day awards $34K to high school students

Nearly 1,400 students from 97 high schools across the state participated in UNL's 23rd annual Math Day on Nov. 15 while top performers walked away with a share of $34,000 in UNL scholarships.

The event, held each year since 1990, is designed to spark high school students' interest in math, expose them to UNL's mathematical sciences program, and encourage them to pursue mathematics or mathematics-based science as a career.

Omaha Central's Marika Svolos claimed the top prize in the day's scholarship competition — an $8,000 award to attend UNL. Winners in the team competition included Lincoln East in Class A, Elkhorn in Class B, Omaha Brownell-Talbot in Class C and Sargent in Class D.

The day consisted of two individual mathematics competitions as well as a team contest and the team math bowl — a fast paced, double-elimination tournament. Students also had the opportunity to learn about UNL majors and departments and careers, and to participate in recreational mathematical activities. All students started with a multiple choice, preliminary exam called PROBE I (Problems Requiring Original and Brilliant Effort.) The top three females and males received awards. The top 50 students moved on to take an essay-style mathematics exam called PROBE II. The 10 students who performed best on the essay exam were awarded a total of $34,000 in four-year scholarships.

The scholarships are supported by the Dean H. and Floreen G. Eastman Memorial Fund for Mathematics, the Gallup Math Day Fund, the UNL College of Engineering, and the UNL Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

The team competition was determined by averaging the top scores from each school on PROBE I. The team math bowl tournament pitted three-member teams against each other (up to two alternates per team allowed.) Both team competitions divided the field up by school size, with trophies given to the top two teams in each category. All questions assumed students have taken two years of high school algebra, trigonometry and one year of geometry. The answers to PROBE II questions required the creativity and originality expected from only the very best students.

Math Day 2012 summary results:

PROBE II — (scholarship competition; awards are four-year totals) 1. Marika Svolos, Omaha Central, $8,000; 2. Ingrid Zhang, Lincoln East, $4,000; 3. Ryan Goding, Omaha Central, $4,000; 4. Linda Liu, Omaha Brownell-Talbot, $4,000; 5. Ethan Sun, Lincoln Christian, $4,000; 6. Shashwat Sitesh, Millard North, $2,000; 7. Michael Zhong, Omaha Brownell-Talbot, $2,000; 8. Ian Howell, Omaha North, $2,000; 9. Akshay Rajagopal, Lincoln East, $2,000; 10. Derek Chew, Omaha North, $2,000.

Math Bowl Tournament (team members in parentheses)

Class A — 1. Lincoln East (Sam Kohler, Akshay Rajagopal, Katie Sedlar, Eric Weber, Ingrid Zhang); 2. Omaha North (Derek Chew, Brock Ericson, Erick Hernandez, Ian Howell, Doug Rowen).

Class B — 1. Omaha Duchesne (Zoe Cohen, Jackie Grode, Erica Hedrick, Anna Petrow, Pooja Varman); 2. Elkhorn (Drew Dudley, Jesse Holmes, Wyatt Osborn, Collin Roessner, Anthony Sufficool).

Class C — 1. Omaha Brownell-Talbot (Andrew Chen, Linda Liu, Michael Zhong, Jessica Zhou); 2. Fremont Bergan (Mary Alderson, Logan Atkinson, T.J. Fryklind, Patrick Herink).

Class D — 1. Waco Nebraska Evangelical Lutheran (Naomi Brandt, Ryan Henning, Catherine Jurgens, Tiara Lee); 2. Mullen (Matthew Furrow, Adam Starr, Josh Vinton)

PROBE I Team Competition (maximum possible team score is 100)

Class A — 1. Lincoln East, 87.00; 2. Omaha Central, 83.80; 3. Millard North, 71.00; 4. Creighton Prep, 69.40; 5, Omaha North, 66.60.

Class B — 1. Elkhorn, 72.75; 2. Elkhorn Mount Michael, 69.75; 3. Omaha Duchesne, 69.25; 4. Scottsbluff, 62.50; 5, Lincoln Christian, 62.25.

Class C — 1. Omaha Brownell-Talbot, 85.67; 2. Harvard, 57.67; 3. Fremont Bergan, 53.33; 4. Yutan, 52.00; 5, Cross County, 46.67.

Class D — 1. Sargent, 47.33; 2. Waco Nebraska Evangelical Lutheran, 44.33; 3. Bertrand, 44.00; 4. tie, Exeter-Milligan and Mullen, 41.33.

PROBE I Top Three Students

Females — 1. tie, Marika Svolos, Omaha Central, and Ingrid Zhang, Lincoln East; 3. Jessica Zhou, Omaha Brownell-Talbot.

Males — 1. Ryan Goding, Omaha Central; 2. Akshay Rajagopal, Lincoln East; 3. Wyatt Osborn, Elkhorn.