Francis Marion University’s math department hosted the thirty-eighth annual Pee Dee Regional High School Mathematics Tournament on Tuesday Dec. 2, in the McNair Science Facility from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The tournament is hosted every year as another way to serve the Pee Dee region. This year over 300 students from 21 schools that spanned over 10 counties joined the competition. Teachers registered their classes or teams in order to attend. Dr. Damon Scott, this year’s tournament organizer, was proud to announce that the number of participants increased exponentially. This wide scale tournament included a two-part tournament along with a speaker, lunch, and an awards ceremony.
The first half of the two-part competitions is written; each competitor answered math problems on paper. After the written half of the competition, a guest speaker usually comes to address the competition. This year’s informative speaker is Francis Marion University’s own associate physics professor Larry Engelhardt. His address was about how mathematics plays a key role in understanding the world we live in. After the address and lunch, the second part of the competition commenced. This half of the tournament was team competition. The teams were based on the scores of the individuals.
Listening to the students prepare and in most cases provide advice to their fellow competitors for the tournament emphasized the seriousness of the competition. Although some students were anxious, quite a few were fully prepared. One such student was a sophomore from Wilson High School by the name Neil Dey. Winning last year’s first prize, Dey was pretty confident in his abilities for the competition. When asked how he prepared for the tournament he provided the simplest of methods.
“Go to the FMU website and do every problem on there,” Dey said. “That’s the simplest way to do it.”
Of course it wasn’t just the students that had to prepare for the tournament, there were parents that attended the tournament as well. For one parent, this was their first, most exciting event for them. Being a parent for two students, this was an interesting way to see how the competition operates.
In the end there could only be a few winners. The third place winner was a student by the name Alex Tew, who attends Scholars Academy. The second place winner was Qiyu (Stella) Dai from Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School. The first place winner was John Mastroberti from Scholars Academy.