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Multiples of success

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WORTHINGTON – Hours of competition and days of practice added up to a super sum of success for the Worthington Middle School (WMS) sixth graders participating in this year’s Math Masters competition, hosted Saturday at WMS.

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“When the dust settled, the Worthington Team No. 2 of Adam Koller, Natalia Rodriguez, Sarah DeSmith, Colby Hastings and Emmett Bickett came out in first place,” said Rich Besel, who coached (along with fellow teacher Rich Liapis) the 15 WMS students involved and coordinated the multi-school event.

In all, 50 students on 10 teams from three area schools (a fourth group from Sleepy Eye was unable to attend due to hazardous road conditions) competed in one of the 44 annual events promoting math learning in Minnesota.

“Math Masters began in 1989 as a promotion to get a better balance between boys and girls exceeding in mathematics,” explained Besel, a WMS sixth-grade teacher.

“The students who compete wrestle with fact drills and real-life problems using geometry, algebra, number sense and probability,” he continued.

Second place in the team competition came down to a one-point win: Murray County Central’s team of Kyler Deacon, Izzy Gillette, Alyssa Groves, Abby Hammon and Samantha Larson narrowly topped Worthington Team No. 3 (Payton Sauerbrei, Victoria Schutz, Casey Michelson, Kalen Brands and Kami Bird).

Worthington Team No. 4 (Kalea Appel, Kip Jenson, A.J. Wass, Abigail Wede and Katie O’Donnell) finished fourth overall out of the 10 competing groups.

“This was their day to shine, and they even melted away some of those winter blues,” said Besel of the sixth-grade math stand-outs.

Individuals placing well in the Fact and Order of Operations exercise included Larson of Murray County Central (first place), followed by Koller (WMS), Deacon (MCC), Groves (MCC), Amanda Mortinsen (Windom) and Hastings (WMS).

Top individuals in the Problem Solving Portion were Appel (WMS), Deacon (MCC), Hastings (WMS) and Schutz (WMS).

WMS will play host to the fifth grade Math Masters event in May.

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Jane Moore
Jane has been a contributing writer to the Daily Globe since 1997. Previously, she held professional positions in corporate communications, alumni relations and journalism. She earned a B.A. in English with a minor in German at Carleton College. Jane handles the weekly "Looking Back" column and frequently writes education, fine arts and news features for the Daily Globe. Her blog can be viewed at www.timeformoore.areavoices.com.
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