2011 New Year Invitational and MATHCOUNTS Scrimmage

 by Andrew Ma, University High School, Class of 2013

This past Sunday, OCMC hosted its 2011 New Years MathCounts Scrimmage for elementary and middle school kids. Thanks to generous support from Mr. David Boyle, Associate Headmaster and Upper School Principal of St. Margaret's Episcopal School, the Scrimmage was held at Campaigne Center on St. Margaret's campus. More than a hundred twenty enthusiastic students from thirty six schools competed in the intense event organized by a group of twenty dedicated high school student volunteers.

With orange and white balloons marking table numbers, an anticipated bake sale, and an seminar from Dr. Muratori from CTY, OCMC was ready to kick off its best tournament yet. Students sat in groups of three to four, and started the competition with a difficult Sprint Round, a question set comprised of thirty increasingly difficult problems, in a short time frame of forty minutes. Following a short intermission, students sat back down at their respective tables for the segmented, 8-problem Target Round. The Target is slightly more difficult than the Sprint round, allotting an average 3 minutes for each problem. Like the nationally recognized MathCounts program, individual scores were calculated by adding the Sprint score to twice the Target score.

While the kids competed, parents were given the honor of listening to Dr. Michelle Muratori, who gave a one-hour seminar regarding high school planning for gifted middle school students. Dr. Muratori is a representative from Johns Hopkins SET/CTY, a program acclaimed for its opportunities to exceptionally bright middle school students.

After yet another short break, students competed in the more relaxed and fun Team Round. In tables organized by school, the teams needed to answer ten incredibly difficult problems by utilizing three to four brains and much-needed cooperation. The last, nearly impossible problem included finding the third-to-last digit in the repeated expansion of 1/97.

During the final break, OCMC held a bookstore with books that were extremely helpful towards competitive mathematics. All levels, from basic competition to national Olympiad, were represented. Many of these books were affiliated with The Art of Problem Solving, the largest math community online. (www.artofproblemsolving.com) The bake sale was also open, and OCMC sold cookies and muffins as snacks for kids who needed more energy for more competition.

The graders rapidly summed up the scores for each of the hundred individuals to prepare for the Countdown Round. The top eight scorers from the 6th grade and under bracket and the 7th - 8th grade bracket were scrambled, leading to an exciting, mixed competition in which two randomly chosen top-scorers needed to answer a math problem quickly and precisely. Responses took as long as thirty seconds to as short as two-tenths of a second.

After fourteen competitors had been eliminated, the final round consisted of Benjamin Chen and Eric Xu, and whoever got four out of seven questions correct would be the champion. After trumping his opponent 4 to 1, Benjamin Chen became the (returning) champion of OCMC’s New Years Invitational, while Eric Xu was no less recognized as the runner-up.

At the end of the day, trophies and medals were handed out to the top eight of each grade and the top two teams of each grade bracket.  Congratulations to the following students:


  1. Benjamin Chen - Chaparral Middle School
  2. Eric Xu - Calle Mayor Middle School


Euler Division for Students in Grade 7 and 8


  1. Rancho San Joaquin Middle School
    • Ankur Gupta
    • Hari Garg
    • Jeffrey Qiao
    • Evan Yu
  2. Venado Middle School
    • Michelle Chen
    • Phillip Yoon
    • Srinidhi Bharadwaj
    • Krishna Kandala


  1. Michelle Chen - Venado Middle School
  2. Eric Xu - Calle Mayor Middle School
  3. Evan Yu - Rancho San Joaquin Middle School
  4. Benjamin Most - Harbor Day School
  5. George Hu - Rancho San Joaquin Middle School
  6. Jeffrey Qiao - Rancho San Joaquin Middle School
  7. Kevin Lee - Venado Middle School
  8. Benjamin Chen - Chaparral Middle School


Fermat Division for Students in Grade 6 or Lower


  1. Turtle Rock Elementary School
    • Kyle Huang
    • Benjamin Sui
    • Calvin Brown
    • Isabelle Lee
  2. Travis Ranch Middle School
    • Ashley Lee
    • Michael Huang
    • Joshua Yen
    • Dillon Kanne


  1. Jason Ye - Foothill Ranch Elementary School
  2. Calvin Brown - Turtle Rock Elementary School
  3. Nathan Moore - Vista Verde Middle School
  4. Dillon Kanne - Travis Ranch Middle School
  5. Mike Bao - Suzanne Middle School
  6. Joshua Yen - Travis Ranch Middle School
  7. Armen Simonian - AGM Armenian School
  8. Kush Attal - Foothill Ranch Elementary School

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