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First in 5 years: Gibbs, Ottoson in state math competition

UPDATED, Feb. 17: For the first time in five years, Arlington will be represented at the Mathcounts state contest. 

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Results were better than expected for Arlington, wrote the teams' coach, parent volunteer Jon McIntyre. The Gibbs team secured one of the two statewide wildcards, and seventh grader Kenneth Lu of Ottoson grabbed one of the eight statewide individual wildcards.

The state contest is set for Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, on Saturday, March 7.

Going to Wentworth from Gibbs are Jiahe Liu, Xitiz Shakya, You-Yan Wang and Yaxin Zhang. See a photo of the teams here >>

 The state contest is the final stop for schools competing as teams. The state championship is the highest title a school's team of four students can achieve.

However, there is another level for individuals. The top-four individuals at the state meet will form a new "Massachusetts" team and travel to Orlando, Fla., for the national championship in May.

"As all five of our advancing students are new to Mathcounts competitions this year, we'll be relying on our veteran Ottoson eight-grade team members to give them advice on dealing with the nerves of competition, and help them prepare to do their best in the state meet.  This is an accomplishment that our entire team will share," wrote McIntyre wrote.

Gibbs 6th, Ottoson 9th in math competition

Ten Ottoson and eight Gibbs students were part of teams competing in the annual Mathcounts Metronorth Chapter Competition in Melrose,  on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Ottoson placed ninth out of 24 schools. Gibbs, in its first year at the competition, finished sixth overall.

Mathcounts is a nationwide math contest for middle-school students, where top regional (or "chapter") scorers can advance to a state-level meet, and four students from each state win a trip to the national championship in Orlando, Fla.

"Arlington is in one of the more difficult of the seven Massachusetts regions, so we're proud to say that for the first time in three years, Ottoson placed in the top 10," wrote McIntyre.

Ottoson was ahead of Gibbs in the scoring after the two individual rounds, with a score of 31.75, while Gibbs had 29.25, but in the high-point-value team round, where four students work problems together, Gibbs outscored Ottoson by six points, moving ahead in the standings.

Ottoson's team of four consisted of eighth graders Ethan Phan, Jessie Ma, Andy Simcoe and seventh grader Kenneth Lu, who was Ottoson's top scorer, with 36 of 46 possible points in the individual rounds. The competition average is 27 out of 46.

Also competing as individuals for Ottoson were Immy Serifovic, Jin Choi, Ivy Wang, Allison Dixon, Magalie Frechette and John Archibald.

Leading the Gibbs' team was Jiahe Liu, with an impressive 41 points out of 46.

Also on the team were Xitiz Shakya, Yaxin Zhang and You-Yan Wang. Competing individually were Zach Phan, Daniel Elkin, Yujia Wang and Mihir Roday.

At the end of the contest, Liu and Lu took part in a tournament-style "countdown round," with 16 of the top scorers in the meet. Lu won his first two match-ups and advanced to the semifinals before he was defeated.

This news summary was published Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, and updated Feb. 17.

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