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Buchholz makes it 8 straight math titles

By Kayla Robins
Correspondent

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2012

 

Buchholz High School's math team swept the competition Friday and Saturday, winning all three divisions and bringing home a record-breaking eighth-straight state championship from Orlando.

More than 55 high schools and 1,200 students participated in the competition, which was run by Mu Alpha Theta. Buchholz took 45 students, only five of whom are seniors.

Schools took tests in about 40 different competitions throughout the weekend to accumulate points, according to Buchholz teacher and math coach Will Frazer. With 4,200 points, Buchholz won by 118.

"It's not massive," Frazer said, "but it's a comfortable win."

He said Seminole High School came in second place for the first time.

"They're somebody we'll be worrying about in the future," Frazer said.

Buchholz received $1,000 for each of the three divisions it won, which will help fund their trip to Boston for nationals in July.

In the mu division, which is predominantly juniors and seniors, more than 450 students tested in calculus. Frazer said he was most satisfied with this division.

"They had a lot of competition throughout the regular season, but they blew everybody away [at state].

"John [Phillpot] particularly shined this weekend. He really stepped up," Frazer said.

Phillpot, a senior who will attend Harvey Mudd College in California, led the team with classmate Jeremy Liu, who will attend Yale University.

"You got the smartest kids in high school competing," Frazer said.

The alpha division mostly involves is precalculus and mostly features sophomores and juniors competing. Led by Andrew Fang, they rebounded to narrowly beat Seminole and American Heritage high schools after coming in fifth place last year, Frazer said.

"They competed with the same kids who beat them last year," Frazer said. "It was very satisfying for them."

The theta division, which is both algebra 2 and geometry, is the youngest division. Two students received an additional $250 each from Raytheon Co., the competition's sponsor, Frazer said. Timmy Xie won the geometry competition, and David Hurst won the theta individual award, for which he beat about 400 students.

Frazer said next year looks promising because most of the team is young. Kevin Huang and Stephen Dolbier, Frazer said, are "10th-grade superstars who look to be future leaders" of the team. Also, junior Tony Zeng qualified, out of 250 students in the nation, for the International Mathematical Olympiad competition.

"We're gonna celebrate for a little bit then get back to work," Frazer said.

Before nationals, Buchholz will travel to Georgia for the ARML competition, a higher-level event on June 2. Because nationals is in mid-July instead of later in the month, the team will have a shorter and more intense training period. When school ends, Frazer said, they will practice Monday through Friday for four hours each day.

"There's a lot of learning loss in math over the summer. You put a math book down for two months and forget how to do it," Frazer said.

Buchholz already broke Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's record of six titles in a row. Next, Frazer said he's after that school's record of 10 overall.

"We're really trying to set records that won't be broken," Frazer said.

Lincoln Middle school won the middle school state math championship this year, marking the first title for any Gainesville middle school. Frazer said the vast majority of them will be at Buchholz next year.

"We don't plan to quit anytime soon," he said.

Link to Article on Gainesville Sun Webpage.

Buchholz High School Math Team - Gainesville, FL