Minot’s MathCounts

Memorial Middle School math teacher Jerry Lyon was bubbling over with pride in his MathCounts team Wednesday at Minot State University.

His team of seventh- and eighth-graders took first place overall as a team and eighth-grader Trevor Guy took first place individually and in the informal countdown round. Guy’s teammate, Ethan Rickards, took second place in the countdown round.

“I’m exremely proud of these guys,” said Lyon, who has been a math teacher for 40 years at the middle school on Minot Air Force Base and is retiring this year.

Lyon said it is highly unusual to have two students from the same school finish in first and second place in the countdown round as well as to finish in first place as a team and individually. Lyon is particularly happy because his math team from Memorial also won first place the first year the competition was held in 1985, and has repeated its feat during his last year at the school.

“It’s quite a way for their coach to go out,” said Lyon.

Lyon said he prepared his students by having the advanced math students in seventh and eighth grade take a math test in January. The top students on the test are then invited to participate in practice sessions in the weeks leading up to the competition. The young math students practiced between 7 and 7:30 a.m. Mondays and Fridays.

“I love competition,” said Lyon, who was also a tennis coach for many years, and he said this math competition is about as exciting as it gets in the field of math.

Students from middle schools across the county competed individually and as teams in fast-paced oral matches. Possible topics included probability, statistics, algebra and geometry.

The top-scoring students’ scores will be compared against those of students from other schools in the region. The top students from the region will be selected to compete at the state MathCounts competition.