Tahoma math team headed to Nationals

Tahoma High Math Team members, pictured above, have advanced from the state level to the national competition in Orlando later this month. - Courtesy photo
Tahoma High Math Team members, pictured above, have advanced from the state level to the national competition in Orlando later this month.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

By Melissa Anthony

Tahoma High School’s Math Team will compete at the Mu Alpha Theta National Convention in Orlando July 20-25.

The Tahoma Math Team has been practicing since last September and will compete against along with over 600 other students from around the country.

Representing Tahoma are the calculus students Lauren Baek, Alex Link, and Malise Yun. Pre-Calculus students are Melissa Anthony, Preston Fowler, Dylon Maertens, and Kristen Ward. Competing in algebra and geometry is Rhiana Martin.

“It’s been great fun learning different theorems during math team,” Martin said.

During preparation, the Tahoma Math Team has competed throughout the state in six math competitions.

“This group of students has been absolutely amazing,” teacher and coach Malinda Shirley said. “They have been doing some serious math to compete with the top students in the nation.”

Among the team’s highlights this year was a state title won by Fowler in Statistics.

Other top finishes for the team at the state competition came from Peng who finished fourth in speed math and 19th in ciphering, a fourth place finish by Culp in conic sections, a sixth place finish by Martin in chalk talk, a sixth place finish by Maertens in mental math, a ninth place finish by Stevens in equations, and a 19th place finish overall by Fowler. Overall, the team placed 10th.

“It was really fun to compete with all the different teams from around the state,” Ward said.

At Nationals the competitors will be tested for five days on rigorous topics such as statistics, logarithms, complex numbers, and mental math in addition to their core class studied during the school year.

“It’s a lot of hard work but it feels great when you place,” said Maertens.

Additionally, Melissa Anthony and Lauren Baek will present talks on “The Mathematics of Disney World”.

A highlight of the National competition is a presentation of the Yearbook of Club activities. This 50-page scrapbook chronicles the competitions and club activities based on the movie “RIO”.

“The scrapbook is a great way to showcase what we’ve accomplished with our team throughout the year,” said Yun.

The scrapbook will be judged at the National competition and will contribute to the school’s overall score. Lauren Baek (Chairperson), Ruby Baek, Malise Yun, Rachel Culp, Alyssa Truong, Kristen Ward, Rhiana Martin, and Jennifer Peng have spent over 200 hours on this culminating project.

“We’ve all improved so much and learned from each other. It’s always great when you find a new way of solving a problem,” Anthony said.

To get this far, the team needed the help of several sponsors. The school’s PTA, ASB, and Triumph Aerospace Systems contributed so that the students could participate in several competitions.

“Math is a foundational skill,” Shirley said. “With each level of math that is mastered, our students get a step closer to being Future Ready. That is a focal point of a Tahoma education.”

For more information about the math team at Tahoma High contact


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