Wave simple addition goodbye

Being ranked the best math team in Fairfield County isn’t easy as pi.

In fact, the 15 members on the Staples team meet twice a week after school to take derivatives, prove theorems and factor their hearts away with the hope of helping the team snag first place in the monthly competition.

But in the end, after hours of hard work from each math wiz, only six students participate in the official round of the contest, according to the competition rules. That’s been the case for a long time, according to math teacher Bill Wilkes, advisor of the team for the past nine years.

“Anyone who does not get put on A Team gets put on B team for that particular month, where their scores will not be counted,” Wilkes said.

Members who are placed on the B Team attend the same competition and solve the same problems, but their scores are not counted for Staples’ final score.

Unfortunately, this sometimes means one of the team captains doesn’t see his or her score count. In order to decide who gets the honor of representing the team in the competition that month, a mini “runoff” test is distributed to each member. The six highest-scoring mathematicians each month will comprise the ‘A Team.’

“Other schools would love to have the problem of having too many powerhouse students wanting to compete than are allowed,” Wilkes said.

Students on the team said they understand that each month the school needs to put forth its strongest team in competition.

“I wouldn’t be offended if I weren’t selected for the ‘A Team’ because it would have been my fault for falling behind,” Cody Johnson ’15, a member of the team, said.

While it may seem odd that even captains of the math team can be placed on the ‘B Team,’ the same sometimes applies in sports.

“A captain has a responsibility to his team and their coach, and if they don’t perform as required, they should be allowed to be benched,” Nick Esposito ’15, a football and basketball player, said.

However, he said it’s rare that captains are denied the right to play.

All in all, students and advisors agreed, the math team’s hard work and competitive style has paid off. It was ranked third place in the league last year and has qualified for the New England Championship for the last four years.