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Dassel-Cokato Math League is number one in the division
Monday, Feb. 25, 2013
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Team will participate in state competition March 11

By Jennifer Kotila
Staff Writer

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – Four years after becoming an official activity at Dassel-Cokato High School, the DC Math League finished number one in its division.

“We’ve kind of been in Hutchinson’s shadow – coming in second place each year. This year, we finally beat them out,” said senior Leif Torgerson.

This year’s team is also the largest it has been with 13 members. A full team is comprised of eight members, and the team only had four members the first couple of years, according to coach Carlynn Lundeen.

Three of this year’s team members started as ninth-graders the first year math league was offered as an official activity, and are now seniors. Along the way, they have actively recruited new members to the team.

“It’s a unique group – it has to be kids who enjoy doing math and are willing to put in the extra time and effort,” Lundeen said.

Adding strength to the well-seasoned seniors on the team is eighth-grader Nathan Weckwerth, who is taking high school math classes and joined the high school math league this year.

“We matched him with a real strong senior group,” Lundeen noted.

DC had to beat out six schools and 105-110 participants in the Prairie division to make it to the state level of competition.

Weckwerth is the top scorer for math league in the Prairie division, which consists of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (ACGC), Bird Island-Olivia-Lake Lillian (BOLD), Maynard-Clara City-Raymond (MACCRAY), New London-Spicer (NLS), and Hutchinson school districts; he will be participating in individual competition at the state level.

There, he will compete against the top 50 math league participants from throughout the state in the preliminary round of the state competition. From there, the top 10 will participate in a math bowl to compete for the top individual in the state.

Senior Eric Dahlseng, who has been on the math league team since ninth grade, placed second in the division this year.

Two years ago, Dahlseng was the top scorer individually in the division, and was able to participate individually in the state competition.

Sophomore Jordan Haapala finished in ninth place in the division this year.

Be assured that one does not have to be a genius in math to do well in competition.

“It’s for people who are interested in math. A lot of it is the same as what you are learning in math class,” noted Dahlseng.

For instance, one of the seniors who joined the team this year, did so because he wanted to practice the math he was learning in class, Dahlseng added.

“You don’t have to be an insane genius to be on math league,” Torgerson said. “A lot of it is basic math – just a different way of looking at and applying it.”

As coach, it is Lundeen’s job to assist the students in preparing for upcoming meets, by providing them with information about the systems, theorems, and formulas that will be used at each meet, and get progressively more difficult throughout the season.

Because most of the math league participants are also involved in additional activities, it was hard to set a time to practice as a team.

Therefore, Lundeen set up a Moodle account for members to explore each topic, with website links and places to go to practice problems.

The five Math League meets in the division took place during the day Mondays at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City – a centralized location for the Prairie division.

Meets are broken into four categories – algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus – with four questions, and a team event.

A total of eight members of a team can participate in a meet, with two individuals participating in each category, answering the questions in 12 minutes.

“A lot of the topics correlate with what is learned in math class, but maybe go more in depth,” Lundeen said.

Typically, younger team members will participate in algebra or geometry, because they have not taken trigonometry or calculus.

A total of seven points can be earned individually, and students averaging three out of seven are usually at the top, Lundeen noted.

The whole team then works together to solve six math problems in 20 minutes, for a total of 24 points.

A team’s individual scores and the team score are added together for the team total.

At the state competition, the formulas, theorems, and systems the students will be using to solve the math problems can be picked from any of the meets from throughout the season.

The state competition will take place Monday, March 11 at South St. Paul High School.

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