The fifth annual “MC2: McPherson College Math Competition” demonstrated that mathematics can inspire both enthusiastic cheering and concentrated silence.

The fifth annual “MC2: McPherson College Math Competition” demonstrated that mathematics can inspire both enthusiastic cheering and concentrated silence.
On Feb. 23, more than 400 students from 23 area high schools competed to win top recognition for their math skills. This year’s theme, printed on hundreds of T-shirts was “Math: Just Du It” (“Du” being a type of calculus notation).
“We try to come up with something that is both hip and geeky at the same time,” said Michael Reynolds, professor of mathematics, about the shirts.
Reynolds said he had the idea to start the competition in 2007 – drawing on similar experiences he’d had in high school. That year they had expected 100 students but attracted more than 300.
“We didn’t realize what a demand there was,” Reynolds said. “There are a lot of schools who really want to do this.”
The individual competition was first, with the hum of fluorescent lights the only sound as the students completed the multiple-choice exam. Afterwards, Chelsea Base, a sophomore at Inman High School, said she had fun testing herself against other students who excelled at math.
“I’ve always been good at it,” she said. “So I wanted to see how good compared to everyone else.”
The afternoon brought the much-rowdier group competition, where teams of four collaborated to answer each question. The team names showed off both the creativity and math knowledge of the students: “Sine of the Times”, “Pi a al Mode” and “Conic Relief” just to name a few.
A team from Sterling High School – “Just Four Dudes Struggling Through Calculus” – sported identical black sport coats and thick rimmed glasses, which they dropped into place before tackling each question.
“It’s a math competition,” said Talison Crosby, a senior from Sterling. “You make it as fun as math can be.”
While results were tabulated, Michael Schneider, McPherson College president, challenged students to come up with next year’s T-shirt, with the winning team getting $20 each. Then awards were given in the categories of Best Team Name, Individual Winners by grade and overall team winners.

Best Team Name: “The Last of the Sohcahtoans”, Inman High School. (SOHCAHTOA is a pneumonic device for remembering the definition of sine, cosine and tangent). Members were Riley Sprunger, Jared Freisen, Hayden Elder and James Renner.

9th Grade Individual:
-First: Kylie Mauch, Salina Central
-Second: Kameron Johnson, Hesston High
-Third: Brett Nurnberg, Southeast of Saline
-Fourth: Scott McGehee, Hesston High
-Fifth: Kevin Kraus, Salina South

10th Grade Individual:
-First: David Jantz, Newton High
-Second: Sarah Ullom-Minnich, Moundridge High
-Third: Ben Lindgren, Salina Central
-Fourth: Trent Horton, Buhler High
-Fifth: Nathan Garlow, Salina Central

11th Grade Individual:
-First: RJ Clark, Moundridge High
-Second: Jeff Hall, Goessel High
-Third: Jaehong Jong, Elyria Christian High
-Fourth: Trent Horton, Buhler High
-Fifth: Nathan Garlow, Salina Central

12th Grade Individual:
-First: Patrick Hodson, Marion High
-Second: Siyu Meng, Buhler High
-Third: Paul Burghart, McPherson High
-Fourth: Tim Stucky, Newton High
-Fifth: Dylan Jantz, Newton High

-First: Phat Asymptotes, Newton High. Members were Dylan Jantz, Steven Harms, Dilan Winter and Tim Stucky.
-Second: We Are #0!, McPherson High. Members were Paul Burghart, Clarissa Fenimore, Drew Harger and Nikolous Rempe.
-Third: Stuco +, Marion High. Members were Derek Stucklik, Landon Leiker, Dane Purkepile and Patrick Hodson.
-Fourth: Kommon Dominators, McPherson High. Members were Kwinn Bowers, Kaley Kinnamon, Katie Mena and Kamonwat Rojjanadechakul.
-Fifth: You Can’t Hide Your Lying “i’s”, Moundridge High. Members were RJ Clark, Debra Diepenbrock, Cooper Wedel and Logan Orpin.