Students Compete in Harvard-MIT Math Tournament

Phillips Academy’s Math Club had something to cheer about this past weekend after a second place finish in the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament (HMMT). Brian Wagner ’14, a newcomer to Andover’s Math Team, walked away with a first place award in the individual category at the competition. Phillips Exeter Academy sent six teams of six to the competition, with their top team claiming the first prize. David Ding ’12 and Jong Wook Kim ’13 placed in the top 10 during the individual competition. The HMMT, hosted by MIT and Harvard University students, is an annual math tournament with over 900 high school student participants. The HMMT consisted of four rounds. The first two rounds made up the individual competition while the final two rounds were part of a six-member team competition. The final round was an 80-minute long succession of problems. The team received three problems, solved them together, handed back the questions with their solutions and received another set of three questions to answer. The problems in the competition mostly consisted of word problems spanning topics such as algebra, geometry, probability and trigonometry. Wagner said, “I was surprised when they announced my name because they had handed out the solutions earlier and I saw that I had missed a few.” He said that the final question involved geometry involving circles, trigonometry and auxiliary lines. It took Wagner about ten minutes to solve. Wagner wrote in an e-mail, “It definitely felt exhilarating to win a competition with so [much] smart and experienced competition.” “I know that there are a lot of other people who could have also won another day,” he continued. The Math Team plans to attend the American Regions Mathematics League at Penn State University this coming spring. “This is the world series of math competitions,” said Farrell. “If it were not for graduation taking place the day after the meet, we would be in the running for first place in the country—but even our Junior, Lower and Upper team will be competitive.” Patrick Farrell, Coach of the Math Team and Chair of the Math Department, said that this year’s math team “is arguably our strongest ever.”