The Marist High School math team will compete in the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) state math contest on Saturday, May 7, at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
The contest welcomes the best private and public schools in the state. During the competition season, teams participate in meets leading up to regionals, where they must achieve a minimum score to advance to the state contest. Marist had the second highest score overall, and the top score for a Catholic school at its regional hosted at Lincoln-Way East High School.
Marist’s math team regularly advances to the state contest, and for the past three years has finished as the top Catholic school in Illinois. In 2015, the team placed fourth overall in the state’s 61-team 3AA division: There are four divisions based on enrollment. The team’s best finish was in 2014, when it took third. This year’s seniors plan to maintain the strong tradition, if not better it. “We definitely want to be the top Catholic school and hope to be among the top three overall,” said senior Laith Abad.
The team boasts more than 50 members who practice ninety minutes after school up to five days per week. Senior Krista Ico explained that students stick with the demanding schedule because “We love being together. It’s just like a sports team; you start making bonds with one another.” Thirty-seven students will represent Marist in the 12 categories that make up the state contest. The categories include Algebra 1, geometry, Algebra 2, pre-calculus, freshman-sophomore eight person team, junior-senior eight person team, calculator team, freshman-sophomore two person team, junior-senior two person team, freshman-sophomore relay team, and junior-senior relay team. “The students’ work ethic is incredible. Our seniors always step up and help lead the team,” explained math teacher and team coach Jeff Nicholson ’81. He coaches the team along with longtime Marist math teacher Owen Glennon.
While all the members are highly talented, the team also includes senior Jason Phelan and junior Becca Valek who both scored 36 on their ACT. Phelan and teammate Abad were recently announced as the class of 2016’s co-valedictorians. “The dedication and talent of the math team members is beyond impressive,” Principal Larry Tucker ’79 said. “They exemplify the commitment to academic excellence Marist is known for, and we couldn’t be more proud of how they represent themselves and the school.”
The state contest starts at 9am, and awards will be presented at 4pm. Marist administrators, teachers, and students will be eagerly awaiting the results. Along with the math team, Marist also sponsors competitive co-curricular teams in speech, debate, chess, and academics.
State Contest Team Members: Laith Abad, Ricardo Aguilar, Joey Bennett, Jack Brannigan, Matthew Conklin, Michael Cosentino, Aidan Dillon, Jack Golden, Krista Ico, Sam Kamper, Dana Kelly, Martha Kowalski, Rob Krokos, Vicky Krummick, Michael Laird, Shannon Landers, Ravi Majeti, Michael Mallon, Bob Mauge, Rich Mauge, Kyle McNamara, Jacob Mozdzen, Erin Olsen, Valerie Pavilonis, Joshua Peralta, Jason Phelan, Emily Radz, Jake Rahn, Benjamin Rickey, Caitlin Ryan, Jude Sanchez, Courteney Schulz, Edward Stifter, Rachel Ulaszek, Becca Valek, Monica Viz, Elise Viz, and Ryan Vulich
Math team poster designed by TJ Bjorklund '16