will go on to compete in the statewide competition at the University of Denver on March 12. More than 100 students from middle schools throughout Boulder County participated in the February 5 event, competing against the clock and each other, to solve mathematical problems that would befuddle most adults.
Dillon, who by the time he was in second grade showed a knack for math (and admits he “doesn’t like the other reading subjects”), explained that most of the questions for the competition were algebra and geometry problems. The participants were given several pages of math problems, and allowed 40 minutes to come up with the answers. The top scorers were then given increasingly more difficult questions (two per round) and five minutes per round to solve them.
Lest you think the boy spends all his waking hours working on Sudoku and scratching out math puzzles, Dillon is a typical well-rounded teen. He just finished up the basketball season for the Lyons Middle School team (still playing in the Longmont Rec. League), is getting ready for the start of the track season, runs cross-country, takes piano lessons, and plays percussion in the school band.
Organizing the Seagate-hosted regional event was Jim Hatfield, a senior development engineer at Seagate who took on the post this year of Boulder Chapter “MATHCOUNTS” coordinator. Hatfield, a longtime supporter of the event and parent of a former competitor, says he’s a big believer in the program. “Our youth are the future of our country, and math is the basic language of science and technology,” said Hatfield. “It’s crucial to recognize and encourage young people to enter into and continue in technical subjects.”
“MATHCOUNTS” is a national enrichment club and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement through grassroots involvement in every U.S. state and territory.