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Off The Field: RHS Math Team
Back row (left to right): Zack Harp, Kolten Swindle, Ethan Ragsdale, Justin Dicer, Jared Zane. Front row: Mattison Garbee, Audra Houser, Christian Dicer, Rachel Hill, Chris Hill

We’ll step Off the Field to take a closer look at some of the Republic students who are competing in non-sports activities. Our report is brought to you by State Farm Agent Sarah Rader. Talk to her about how you can save money by combining your home and auto insurance.

by Olivia Skeans

Two students from the Republic High School Math Team earned top spots in a recent math competition at Springfield Catholic High School.

Senior Justin Dicer and Junior Jared Zane both placed fourth in each of their respective class Sprint tests–a thirty-question test that students have an hour to complete with no calculator. Dicer and Zane also teamed up with Sophomore Christian Dicer in the Relay–where teams of three members answer one question with three parts, each part leading to the following answer–placing high enough to qualify for the state competition in April.

Scoring goes as follows: four points for a correctly-completed answer, zero points for leaving an answer blank, and a loss of one point for an incorrect answer. Dicer suggests that the tests at competitions are designed so that not many people complete every problem, leaving students with several difficult problems and not much time.

“Even getting fourth in Sprint as a senior, I got a total of 30-ish points, and a perfect is 120, so I failed that test,” said Dicer. “I try not to get my hopes up when they are announcing awards, but that test had felt really good and I was feeling pretty good about my chances.”

Second-year Math Team Sponsor Camry Cowan, who graduated from Republic in 2012, said the competitive aspect of the club is relatively new to the school, and that the transition into competitions has been a learning process for everyone. “It has been challenging for me because we didn’t even have a math team when I went to school here. The first competition I ever attended was as a sponsor, so I didn’t really know what to expect. My students last year actually had to explain to me what competitions were like.

Second-year Math Team Sponsor Camry Cowan, who graduated from Republic in 2012, said the competitive aspect of the club is relatively new to the school, and that the transition into competitions has been a learning process for everyone.

“It has been challenging for me because we didn’t even have a math team when I went to school here. The first competition I ever attended was as a sponsor, so I didn’t really know what to expect. My students last year actually had to explain to me what competitions were like. On top of that, a lot of the mathematics we use to solve problems is not covered in typical middle school and high school courses. Even in college, I didn’t learn a lot of it. So, there is still a lot I am learning and trying to help my students
learn.”

Cowan also explained that students face tough competition from other area schools, citing Central, Webb City, Ozark, Nixa, and Springfield Catholic as having top-performing competitors.

“With all of that considered, it’s an awesome accomplishment for our students who place in events and qualify to compete at state. It demonstrates their hard work in preparing for competitions and their problem-solving abilities,” said Cowan.

In addition to the Sprint and Relay tests, there are two other main events at competitions: the Target round, an individual event in which students answer eight total questions, receiving two at a time with ten minutes per pair; and the Team event, a ten-question test that a group of up to six members works together to solve in twenty minutes.

The Math Team competed at Missouri State University today. Students will compete at OTC Richwood Valley in February, and either travel to Hollister High School or host a competition at RHS in March. Members who qualify for the state competition along with Justin Dicer, Zane, and Christian Dicer will compete at the University of Missouri in April.

“If any students love mathematics and enjoy solving problems, I would encourage them to come to our practices and get a firsthand look at what we do,” said Cowan. “We have a lot of fun together, and we would love for more students to get involved.”

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