Edgewood mathletes show GR8 results Print
Thursday, Mar. 26, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

MADISON -- Edgewood High School (EHS) offers more than 27 athletic teams and 25 other co-curriculars, but when Edgewood High School math teacher Cathi Shaughnessy first organized a "Math Team" about a decade ago, the number of students interested in participating and traveling to meets at public schools throughout the city could fit in her car.

Now, there are enough student "mathletes" to field four teams of eight and, with alternates, up to 40 students attend the competitions by bus.



Math competitions

Madison public schools host four Madison Area Mathematics League matches a year. Edgewood competes in the "Small School" division against similar-sized area schools.

Competition is held at the varsity (Pre-Calculus and Calculus) and JV levels (Algebra and Geometry). Because all Edgewood students must take at least three years of mathematics, any student is eligible to participate. Like other activities, membership on the Math Team helps impress admissions offices at the top colleges to which many EHS students apply and gain entry.

The meets are held over the course of an entire school year and team membership is fluid. Students choose to participate in as many or as few as their schedule permits, but EHS generally sponsors three varsity level teams and one JV team.

This year, team members' "uniforms" proclaim their academic interest through the use of visual puns that draw on mathematics-related images, symbols and sayings, like “Have the Power to make a Difference” and "As∏r 2day to be > yesterday!"

Students compete individually by solving test questions. The questions, prepared by Shabazz City High School math teacher Grant Groettl, are presented in three rounds and are assigned difficulty point values.

Each of the eight members on a team can earn up to 30 individual points by answering all the questions correctly. The entire team then works collaboratively on six additional questions worth a total of 60 points. Team points are combined with individual scores for a maximum overall score of 300.

Edgewood's mathletes

Edgewood consistently does well, earning individual ribbons and winning many of the competitions.

In previous years, alumni Cedric Meyers (class of 2007) and George Carr (class of 2012) earned rare perfect individual scores of 30.

This year Edgewood's mathletes have been turning in some exceptional individual scores and repeatedly placing a team in the top two.

At this school year’s second meet, hosted by Madison Memorial on December 10, junior Yewon Lee became the first female EHS mathlete to earn a perfect score of 30 individual points. She recalled, "I was so happy! And I could not believe it because that was my first time participating in a math meet."

Lee led her varsity team to an overwhelming victory with a combined score of 240.

Senior Billy O'Brien followed up at the next meet, held at Madison West on February 11, with another perfect score.

O'Brien remarked, "I honestly didn't expect anything close to a perfect score, but when Mrs. Shaughnessy came over to congratulate me, I got very excited! Because I had gotten a discouraging score of zero at my very first math meet as a sophomore, getting a perfect 30 as a senior felt great, and I was happy to help our team as much as possible."

His team took home the second place ribbon for its 159-point total and another of Edgewood’s varsity squads reeled in third place.

At the same meet, freshman Kurtis Thelen scored the highest junior varsity score of any JV mathlete, including those competing from schools in larger divisions. The questions were very difficult and despite earning only a 20, Thelen took sole first-place honors, unusual both for 20 being the top score overall and for no tying top scores from other schools. As a team, JV mathletes captured second place.

In their final meet of the season, on March 11 at Madison East, the Varsity II squad was able to take third place while the JV team brought home another second place ribbon.

The mathletes now await notification of post-season honors, but in the words of "Coach" Cathi Shaughnessy, "Thanks go to all the EHS mathletes for a truly ins(PI)ring season!"


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