GHS Math Team posts best Class 3 score as five county teams head to state
Putnam County schools are sending five teams to the 2019 Indiana Academic Super Bowl state finals Saturday, May 4 at Purdue University.
The quintet is led by the Greencastle High School Math Team, which posted the top score in Class 3 competition, answering 23 of the 25 questions correctly in area competition earlier this week at GHS. The math team will be defending its 2018 state title.
Greencastle has also qualified its Science Team, which got 21 of 25 questions right, along with its Fine Arts Team, which answered 15 questions correctly for the third-best score in Class 3.
North Putnam High School is sending it Science Team as well, which tied for the third spot in Class 3 with the Cloverdale High School and GHS teams, all of which answered 21 questions correctly to trail only Scecina Memorial, Indianapolis, and Lakeland High School of LaGrange with 23 and 22, respectively.
Two other local teams fell just short of making the top seven squads and qualifying for state competition.
The North Putnam Social Studies Team, posting a score of 21, was one right answer shy of a trip to Purdue, while the Greencastle Interdisciplinary Team, with 16 right answers was in an eight-way tie for the fifth spot but lost out in the tie-breaker.
Area competition results also effectively put an end to an incredible run by the Greencastle English Team, which had captured six consecutive state championships through 2018, falling one year shy of the state record of seven straight titles accomplished by Penn High School in social studies.
Members of the top-seeded GHS Math Team, coached by Gayle Hansen, are captain Ben Wilkerson, Connor Crary, Casey Crary, Michael White and Maieasha Rashid.
"I am grateful for how hard this team has worked," Hansen said, "and am excited to have all of them back next year."
Hansen said the students have been meeting as a team about once a week since the middle of January.
"In addition to working hard at weekly practices for at least an hour, they did a considerable amount of time studying on their own," Hansen praised. "For example, we reviewed all of trigonometry in two weeks (three chapters in a precalculus book) and another week we reviewed a geometry chapter on circles.
"The theme this year is The Fertile Crescent," she continued. "In addition to trigonometry and circle geometry, we studied binary and sexagesimal number systems. Binary is base 2 and sexagesimal is base 60 -- our number system is base 10.
"They have to be able to add and subtract in both binary and sexagesimal. They had to convert between our base 10 number system and binary or sexagesimal. We had to learn about ancient Babylonian mathematics and ancient Egyptian mathematics. We also did volumes and lateral area of 3-D shapes."
Hansen shared one of the math problems from the area contest. It asks: What is the equation of the line that is tangent to the circle with equation x^2 +y^2 = 53 at point (7,2)? (The ^ means they are exponents.)
Got the answer yet?
"They have to be quick at solving," Hansen assured, "since they had 40 seconds to solve this after the person was done reading the question."
The GHS Science Team, coached by Brad Kingma, is also captained by Ben Wilkerson with Bailey Williams, Connor Crary, Casey Crary, Noah Schimpf, Jack Howard and Iris Mackenzie as members.
Robin Johnson and Pamalee Smith coach the GHS Fine Arts team, which is composed of Vivian Savage, Sarah Heithaus, Mary Katherine Asbell and Anastasia Wood.
Names of the members of the North Putnam and Cloverdale science teams were unavailable Friday.
Greencastle has a long history of success in the Indiana Academic Super Bowl, winning 27 state titles overall in the event since the GHS Science Team brought home the school's initial championship hardware in 1990. That ties GHS with West Lafayette for the most academic state championships. Five times GHS has won multiple titles and it posted two straight years of capturing three of the six Class 3 state titles in 2015 and 2016.