Harker’s MathCounts team, Celine Liang, grade 7 and eighth graders Matthew Huang, Cindy Liu and Andrew Zhang, placed first at the State MathCounts competition held at Stanford in mid-March. The Harker team was declared California State Champion, beating even the Cupertino Middle School team, the Santa Clara Chapter champion at the competition held on Feb. 12. David Lin, grade 8, participated as an independent qualifier and also did a fine job, said Vandana Kadam, MathCounts coach and middle school mathematics department chair.
Liang placed third following the countdown round of the competition, missing first place by a single point. There are only four students from the entire state who make the team which represents California at the national competition to be held May 5-8 in Washington, D.C., and Liang is one of the four students on this prestigious team. Three of the four top finishers came from the same chapter as Harker (Santa Clara Chapter).
Out of 155 students participating, Liang was third, Huang placed sixth, Liu placed 11th, Lin placed 12th and Zhang placed 28th. Kennedy, Redwood and Miller schools fielded extremely strong teams and Harker beat defending state champion William Hopkins School from Fremont, and also past champions Miller and Redwood, to clinch the number one spot.
Fourteen different chapters from Northern California participated and a similar number of students from 12 Southern California chapters participated in the same contest held simultaneously at University of California, Irvine. The top 10 students were recognized at each of these venues.
After the main event, two students each tied with 46 points (perfect score) and 45 points, so runoffs were held for each of the top four slots. Liang had to go head to head with her competitor to gain the number three spot; her competitor dropped to fourth place. Harker’s Huang barely missed making the team with his sixth place finish. The top four finishers will go to nationals, held in May. Kadam will be there, too, as California State Coach.
“The title of California State Champions is well deserved for each one of them. This is an incredible achievement for the students and for the school,” said Tim McCarthy, coordinator of the Santa Clara Chapter and the Northern California competition.