2012 New Year Invitational

by Kevin Lee, University High School, Class of 2014

This past Saturday, over 150 students from all over Orange County attended OCMC’s 2012 New Year’s Invitational, held at University High School in Irvine and was organized by 30 high school volunteers. The tournament structure was based on that of MathCounts, the premier math competition for middle school students, and students gained valuable experience for the actual contest later this year.

At 1:00pm, tournament directors Dennis Shim and Jennifer McCleary kicked off the festivities with the Sprint Round, a set of 30 increasingly difficult problems to be solved in 40 minutes. Students took tests corresponding to the 6th grade and under group or the 7th-8th grade group, and  worked intensely to solve the difficult problems. After time had elapsed, they enjoyed a short break, unwinding after the exam. Then, it was time for the Target Round, a series of 8 problems that are slightly more difficult than the Sprint Round problems. Each problem is allotted on average three minutes to complete.

When the Target Round was completed, students went outside for another short break, then got ready for the team round. Students formed teams of four and worked on ten very difficult questions, but had fun working with their peers and figured out how to work cooperatively.

Meanwhile, the volunteers graded the first two rounds, and calculated individual scores by adding twice the Target Round score to the Sprint Round score. Here, the top 16 scorers overall were chosen for the Countdown Round and were randomly scrambled in a tournament bracket.

These top scorers prepared to compete before over 200 spectators. Two of the students were chosen to come up to a table, at which a problem was projected onto a screen. Whoever answered the problem first would get a point, and a best of 3 format determined who would advance to the next round. Responses took impressively short amounts of time, some almost faster than even the blink of an eye.

After 3 rounds and 14 eliminations, the final round was between Armen Simonian and Michelle Chen, and whoever answered four out of seven questions would be the champion. An impressive display of mathematical dexterity followed, but in the end, Michelle Chen emerged victorious.

Afterwards, the top eight scorers and the top two teams in each division were awarded trophies and medals. Orange County Math Circle congratulates all students who participated and places, and is glad to announce a good start off to the new year.



  1. Michelle Chen - Rancho San Joaquin Middle School 
  2. Armen Simonian - St. John's Lutheran School

Euler Division for Students in Grade 7 and 8


1st Place Team

    • Benjamin Chen
    • Michelle Chen
    • Ankur Gupta
    • Benjamin Most

2nd Place Team

    • David Chen
    • Spencer Sheen
    • Daniel Shi
    • Jason Ye


  1. Jason Ye - Rancho San Joaquin Middle School
  2. Michelle Chen - Rancho San Joaquin Middle School
  3. Daniel Sun - Venado Middle School
Honorable Mention
    • Mike Bao - Suzanne Middle School
    • Benjamin Chen - Chaparral Middle School
    • Victor Chen - Alvarado Intermediate School
    • Ankur Gupta - Rancho San Joaquin Middle School
    • Evan Yu - Rancho San Joaquin Middle School

Fermat Division for Students in Grade 6 or Lower


1st Place Team

    • Calvin Brown 
    • Isabelle Lee
    • Neal Sharma
    • Michael Wu

2nd Place Team

    • Joseph Amador
    • Eric Huber
    • Armen Simonian
    • Vahan Vorperian


  1. Armen Simonian - St. John's Lutheran School 
  2. Mitchell Wang - Canyon View Elementary School
  3. Marcia Dai - Canyon View Elementary School
Honorable Mention
    • Calvin Brown - Turtle Rock Elementary School
    • Neal Sharma - Turtle Rock Elementary School
    • Ashwin Tripathi - Eastshore Elementary School
    • Vahan Vorperian - Turtle Rock Elementary School
    • Michael Wu - Turtle Rock Elementary School


This site is maintained by Kasra Lekan. 


STEAM for All