Let’s Get Ready to Rhombus!

I suppose you could be forgiven for not knowing that the fifth 2004-2005 meet of the Oahu Mathematics League took place this morning at Mid-Pacific Institute. The local stations don’t seem to think news-viewers are as interested in mathematics competition as softball tournaments.

A view of the Students’ Lounge, half an hour before go-time.

However, if you’d dropped by, you’d have seen a beautiful sight: over two-hundred dedicated, focused high-schoolers from thirty schools puzzling over the correct approaches to the kinds of problems many people experience only in nightmares.

I coach the team from ASSETS High School, and we’ve been having trouble getting our act together this year, which is mostly my fault. However, for the first time since September of 2003, we came with a full team (which is six students in division B; in division A it’s ten), and despite carrying three first-timers, we managed to stay out of the cellar. That’s always our goal: not to finish in last.

When I was a student in the mid- to late-eighties, I competed on the Hawaii Baptist Academy mathematics team. In those days, McKinley High was the dominant team, seldom finishing out of first place. However, there has recently been a power-shift in the OML, and Iolani has had a grip on first since 1996.

The problems were hard this month. I am a math teacher, but I was an English major in college, so I admit that I have difficulty solving problems in the geometry and trig events. I often feel like something of an imposter in the coach’s lounge–especially on those rare occasions when the coach from another school asks my opinion on the best way to solve a tough problem.

Luckily, I’m a good faker.

Kamehameha Schools almost shocked the OML, finishing only four points behind Iolani (there may have been a disqualification of one student’s scores–I didn’t catch the details at the coaches’ meeting at the meet’s conclusion). For those who are curious, here are the top ten finishers in each division. Please notice that my alma mater finished higher than Wendell’s alma mater!

Division A:

  1. Iolani 249
  2. Kamehameha 245
  3. McKinley 217
  4. Moanalua 184
  5. Punahou 179
  6. Roosevelt 166
  7. Hawaii Baptist Academy 145
  8. Mid-Pacific Institute 136
  9. Maryknoll 111
  10. Mililani 105

Division B:

  1. Molokai
  2. Hanalani
  3. Damien
  4. Kalaheo
  5. Sacred Hearts
  6. St. Francis
  8. Kapolei

Next meet: March 12 at Aiea. Who wants to come check it out? :)

11 Comments so far

  1. Eric Sadoyama (unregistered) on February 14th, 2005 @ 9:00 am

    Ahh, Math League! It’s been more than 20 years but I still remember practicing like mad to try to beat Reverie Suzuki’s top-dog McKinley team, and the thrill of scoring a perfect 30 in my events. Thanks scrivener, and all your colleagues too, for putting in the time to coach your teams and giving them support and encouragement.

  2. scrivener (unregistered) on February 14th, 2005 @ 9:26 am

    Eric, where did you go to school, and what years did you participate in OML? You scored thirties, huh? How many?

    That’s really impressive. In the history of my school, there had been only three thirties EVER before 2002 and 2003, when one HBA student scored at least five of them.

  3. Eric Sadoyama (unregistered) on February 14th, 2005 @ 10:03 am

    I graduated from Iolani in ’83. I was in OML since 9th grade, under the coaching of Dave Masunaga. I think I only managed to score thirties in my senior year; it happened more than once, but not at every meet.

  4. Jenn (unregistered) on February 14th, 2005 @ 4:14 pm

    Mitchell’s alma mater may have beaten out Wendell’s, but I notice that my alma mater is NOWHERE to be found!


  5. scrivener (unregistered) on February 14th, 2005 @ 5:08 pm

    Keep in mind that it is the OAHU Mathematics League. Molokai participates, but it is an oddity in this league. It flies to Oahu seven times a year to participate with the Oahu teams–I seriously doubt very many of the Oahu teams would fly to a neighbor island seven times a year, if that’s what it took to compete. The Kaua`i schools can certainly be forgiven.

  6. Eric Sadoyama (unregistered) on February 15th, 2005 @ 8:07 am

    There is a state-wide math competition, though: the State Mathematics Team Championships, a.k.a. the Math Bowl. It’s been running since 1978. Here’s a list of past winners.

  7. scrivner (unregistered) on February 15th, 2005 @ 9:44 am

    The Math Bowl is a great event. Teams of three compete against each other all at the same time in one large room (usually on the arena floor at BYUH), with spectators and everything.

    I see that you were on that ’83 Iolani winning team! I was on the ’87 Division B team that won, but I was an alternate and therefore am not listed. It should be pointed out that HBA’s Division B victory this past year was because Mid-Pac moved up to Division A. Iolani actually qualifies as a Division B team, but you can see why it competes in Division A.

  8. Lloyd (unregistered) on April 25th, 2005 @ 11:23 am

    Sad to say that my first date after meeting my wife (at KMC) was to a math meet. That probably set the tone for the rest of my life. Eric was at the math meet which prompted the memory. Cheers!

  9. scrivener (unregistered) on April 25th, 2005 @ 9:28 pm

    What’s KMC? You mean Kilauea Military Camp?

    So, you met your wife when you were in high school? Or you attended a math meet with your wife as an adult spectator? I’m a little confused.

  10. Lloyd (unregistered) on April 26th, 2005 @ 9:09 pm

    This was late February 1982. We were both in different high schools. We met a week earlier at a club retreat at Kilauea Military Camp. The next weekend and chance to meet was the math meet. Not the most romantic of meet ups but it worked, as we are still together.

    I reminisce because Eric was at both the camp and the math meet. Reading his comments reminded me of the first date.

  11. Stuart Barton (unregistered) on November 11th, 2005 @ 7:40 pm

    Ms. Reverie Suzuki was at I’olani 20 years ago. I graduated from I’olani in ’86. She was my sophomore year algebra II teacher and was involved in the math team during my tenure with it ’83 – ’86. (’83 – ’84 was, if I remember correctly, her first year at I’olani.) She was the best teacher I ever had.

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