After clinching the school's fifth-straight national Mu Alpha Theta math title, Li celebrated with his teammates and a double chocolate fudge milkshake.
"When we're all celebrating, that's probably one of the happiest times of my life," he said.
Buchholz math students won the school's fifth-straight title in three days of competition that wound up on Thursday in Dallas, Texas. It's more consecutive titles than any other school, said coach Will Frazer.
Mu Alpha Theta is a national mathematics honors society. The BHS team took first place in all divisions, including calculus (alpha), precalculus (mu), and algebra II and geometry (theta).
The theta team consists of Buchholz's youngest competitors, Frazer said.
"That one was especially gratifying, because at the state championship, they got fifth place," he said. "They've been struggling a little bit, but they worked really hard this summer."
Buchholz also brought home more than 180 trophies for various competitions. Eastside High School placed seventh in Dallas, said coach Carl Henriksen — the first time the EHS team broke the top 10 in five years of competing.
Buchholz also captured its seventh-straight state math championship in April, the most consecutive state titles ever for a Florida high school.
Frazer said he was worried heading into the national competition after the narrow win at state. However, in Dallas, he said, the win was a decisive one.
Buchholz students attended four-hour practices three times per week throughout the summer and completed about 10 hours of homework per week.
"It's hard to get the kids to work in the summer," Frazer said. "They've got lots of things to do, but our kids are very dedicated."
It's especially hard to motivate the recently graduated seniors who are focused on preparing for college, Frazer said.
Sophomore Andrew Sang, 15, said the team is a community.
"I feel like I've become part of something that's been really big and really amazing," he said.
Andrew's favorite math topic is conics, because it integrates elements of geometry and algebra.
"I enjoy math, so the summer wasn't like a class," he said. "It was more like a camp to see my classmates, my friends and also practice something I'm good at."
Li, 18, has competed with the team for its entire five-year run. He will head to Stanford University in the fall. Li said he thought about his entire career with the team during this week's Mu Alpha Theta convention in Dallas.
"It was a good way to wrap up five years of math with this team," he said. "I hope they continue to do well. These kids are really great kids, every one of them."
At the end of the competition Thursday in Dallas, the team headed to Steak ‘n Shake so the seniors could say their goodbyes, Frazer said.
"It's a giant cry fest," he said. "All the seniors and coaches all start tearing up."
Frazer said he's looking forward to next year's competition in Boston, which will give students a chance to visit Harvard University and MIT.
"They get the same thrill as a football team: You have a game plan, you practice, and you go to compete," he said. "For these guys, it's their sport."