OCMC opens the new year with the New Year’s Invitational

 

With the chapter competition of MATHCOUNTS soon approaching, the Orange County Math Circle held its first tournament of the new year, the annual New Year’s Invitational, to help prepare middle school students all throughout Orange County and even students from Las Vegas and San Diego for the national competition that will take place in February.

The tournament was held on Saturday, Jan. 30, at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School. The test was a complete mock exam of the MATHCOUNTS test, including the sprint round (a 30-problem individual test), the target round (an 8-problem individual test), and the team round before finishing with the exhilarating head-to-head Countdown Round for high-scoring individual students of all grades.  Evan Lee, a 7th grade student, won first place in the Countdown Round and 8th-grade student Jackson Shen was the runner-up.

 

This year, over a hundred students attended the tournament, filling the decorated school gym, as Irvine High junior Lia Tian and University High sophomore Neah Lekan emceed and 30 other OCMC volunteers rushed to and fro behind the scenes to keep the tournament running. Besides providing middle school students with extra practice for the MATHCOUNTS, the tournament also helped introduce 6th grade students to the competition in preparation for their middle school years. Like all OCMC tournaments, the New Year’s Invitational is almost entirely student-run by high school volunteers, with some parent contribution in areas such as the bake sale. However, unlike the other tournaments OCMC holds throughout the school year, this tournament is the only one designed specifically for middle school students, allowing for closer levels between competing students, which was seen most dramatically in the Countdown Round.

“The New Year’s Invitational is significant because it represents a unique opportunity for middle school students to engage in both competitive and collaborative math activities while preparing for a competition and enjoying the experience at the same time,” said Lekan.

Though this tournament is over, there will be one more for this school year. The All-Girls Math Tournament will be held in April for female students from 3rd to 8th grade. It will include individual and team rounds with a notable speaker before the awards ceremony. Registration will be opened in early March. Be sure to sign up!

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