UNCP's Math Contest proves challenging


By Scott Bigelow

List of Winners
Photos of Winners

Middle school, high school and home school students from as far away as Charlotte and Durham competed March 25 in the 23rd annual UNCP Math Contest.

Mathematics Professor Dr. Raymond Lee, coordinator of the contest, said 150 students took tests in algebra I, geometry and algebra II. The top three finishers are eligible to move on to state competition.

Two of the top three individual winners were home school students from Fayetteville. Katie Rettig won in algebra I, and Mehak Aziz won in geometry. Koichi, Matsuda, of Providence Day School in Charlotte, won the algebra II competition.

A team of home school students from Fayetteville also won the team competition in algebra I. Teams from Providence Day won in geometry and algebra II.

Dr. Lee said the UNCP Math Department works hard to create "an appropriate level of difficulty" for the tests.

"These are good tests with questions that our faculty feel are appropriate and in-line with the state curriculum," Dr. Lee. "Every year, we review the test results and throw out questions that are either too easy or too hard."

As the competitors found out, time is an enemy in this kind of contest.

"There are 40 questions and 45 minutes," Dr. Lee said. "Either you know the material, or you don't."

Katie Friedman, an eighth grader from Providence Day, agreed with Dr. Lee.

"I think the questions were pretty easy, but I ran out of time," Friedman said.

Providence Day math teacher Lee Taylor said the school is always seeking challenges for its top students. Some of the school's students competed in three math events this year.

"Every student in an advanced level course will go to at least one competition," Taylor said. "It brings positive notoriety for the school, and it is good exposure for the students to different test taking situations."

Douglas Byrd High School teacher Kay Strickland said the Math Contest stretched the minds of her students.

"They take plenty of tests, but this is a different kind of test," Strickland said. "We have several students who came here for the second time, and some who took it for the first time. They said it was tough."


Algebra I

  1. Katie Rettig, Home School
  2. Marc Loffert, Home School
  3. Aamir Husain, 71st Classical Middle School
  4. Worth Smith, Home School
  5. TJ Ake, Providence Day School


  1. Mehak Aziz, Home School
  2. Trey Jordan, Providence Day School
  3. Katie Jordan, O'Neal School
  4. Jacob Stern, Providence Day School
  5. Cindy Boulton, Pinecrest High School

Algebra II

  1. Koichi Matsuda, Providence Day School
  2. Rachel Baker, Pinecrest High School
  3. Nichole Haake, Providence Day School
  4. Marianne Schild, Providence Day School
  5. Emily Nelson, Providence Day School


Algebra I

  1. Home School, Fayetteville - Worth Smith, Marc Loffert, Kira Sund and Datie Rettig
  2. 71st Classical Middle School - Taylor Creedon, Aamir Husain, Beau Luck and Ian Barefoot
  3. Providence Day School - Ryan Buckland, Emily Crowder, Sheina Taub and Lucy Stickler


  1. Providence Day School - Trey Jordan, Tim Henry, Frank Sanders and Jacob Stern
  2. Pinecrest High School - Cindy Boulton, Carolyn Mullen and Alex Sunnarborg
  3. Union Pines High School - Troy Hadlock, Katy Sims, Sydney Smith and Scott Schwartz

Algebra II

  1. Providence Day School - Nichole Haake, Koichi Matsuda, Emily Nelson and Marianne Schild
  2. Union Pines High School - David Dunlap, Elizabeth Caine, Brandon Allen and Katie Moore
  3. Douglas Byrd High School - Michelle McQuage, Ly Nguyen, Adrianna Salazar and Virginia Mullins



Team 1st place, Alegbra I - home school (Fayetteville), from left: Sponsor Mary Sund, Worth Smith, Marc Loffert, Kira Sund and Katie Rettig.


Team 2nd place, Algebra I - 71st Classical Middle, from left: Sponsor Deborah Stewart, Taylor Creedon, Aamin Husain, Beau Luck and Jan Barefoot


Individual, Algebra I - From left: 1st Katie Rettig, home school (Fayetteville), 2nd Marc Loffert, home school (Fayetteville) and 3rd Amir Husain, 71st Classical Middle School.


Team 3rd place, Algebra II - Douglas Byrd High School, from left: Virginia Mullins, Adranna Salazar, Ly Nguyen, Michelle McQuage and Sponsor Kay Strickland.


Team 2nd place, Geometry - Pinecrest High School - From left: Sponsor Mike Apple, Cindy Boulton, Carolyn Mullen and Alex Sunnarborg.


Team 3rd place, Geometry - Union Pines High School, From left: Sponsor Joseph Patterson, Troy Hadlock, Katy Sims, Sydney Smith, Scott Schwartz.


Individual, Algebra II - 1st Koichi Matsuda, Providence Day (not pictured), 2nd Rachel Baker, Pinecrest High School, 3rd Nichole Haake, Providence Day (not pictured).


Team 2nd place, Algebra II, Union Pines High School - Sponsor Joseph Patterson, David Dunlap, Elizabeth Caine, Brandon Allen and Katie Moore