COLUMBIA — Mathematically inclined middle school students showed off their numerical prowess Saturday at the Missouri State MATHCOUNTS Competition.
The field of 158 students from 48 schools was whittled down to four during the daylong competition at MU's Middlebush Hall. Those top four finishers will participate at the national competition in Orlando, Fla., on May 9.
Jefferson Middle School eighth-grader Daniel Barnett, 13, was feeling sick and feverish on Saturday. But he managed to finish fifth overall and just missed going to the national competition. Jefferson Middle School's coach, Beth Gladura, said Barnett performed well.
"I was expecting him to make the team to nationals, but I know he wasn't feeling well this week and wasn't at a 100 percent," she said. "I was sad to see him place fifth, but I'm very proud of him."
Gladura also coached the Ann Hawkins Gentry Middle School team that placed fifth of 22 teams in the competition.
Former Missouri State MATHCOUNTS coordinator Cliff Jarvis said he relishes his role as a volunteer at the competition.
"The experience of volunteering and the experience of working with these kids and seeing what they can do is fascinating," he said.
West Middle School teacher Chris Hysong shared Jarvis' sentiments and said he was particularly struck by the preparation the students had undergone to be ready for the competition.
Whereas many kids practice basketball or football for hours after school each day, Hysong said, many of the kids at the competition practice math.
Supervising editor is Edward Hart.