Morgan County students compete in geometry and algebra in annual math tournament

Mar. 16—Priceville senior Braxton Voss said solving calculus and trigonometry questions with no calculator sharpens and improves his math skills.

Those skills paid off as he was one of three students to take home a trophy in the comprehensive division at the Morgan County math tournament.

Around 100 students from all five high schools in the Morgan County district piled into the Priceville High gymnasium to compete in the fifth annual competition. Students competed in three divisions: geometry, algebra 2, and comprehensive.

"Comprehensive division is any advanced math beyond geometry and algebra 2," said Donald Weeks, a math teacher for Priceville High.

All 100 students were given 50 minutes to take the initial written test, which contained 25 multiple choice questions with three tiebreaker questions. Afterward, 12 students were selected by their teams to participate in the ciphering round, where they were given two minutes to answer five questions pertaining to geometry, algebra 2 and comprehensive math.

The top three individual finishers of the geometry division in order were Damian Taylor of Brewer High School, Joshua Powers of Danville High School and Asher Lentz of Falkville High School. Winners of the algebra 2 division in order were Elizabeth Murphy of Priceville High School, Kad Daniels of Priceville High School and Carlie Cagle of Brewer High School. Senior Eli Hawkins of Priceville High School placed first in the comprehensive division, and Kendall Wydner from Danville High School placed third. Voss placed second.

For the overall team efforts, Priceville, Brewer and Falkville were the top three in algebra 2. Falkville and Brewer topped the geometry division, with Danville and Priceville tied for third. Priceville, Danville and Brewer were the top three in the comprehensive division.

Voss said the tournament Friday showed who the true mathematicians really were. He placed first in the comprehensive division at last year's tournament.

"To me, not using a calculator is proving what I can do by myself," Voss said. "It really pushes your limits and it weeds out the really good ones from the ones who are dependent on a calculator."

Voss said he remembered math exercises he learned in elementary and middle school that did not involve using a calculator and he applied them to some of the more technical questions on the written and ciphering tests.

"I remember there was a box I used and I still use this day to calculate big numbers, and it would help me: like how we would calculate 10 times 10 and the way we would split up numbers," Voss said.

Weeks said the district started the tournament during the 2018-2019 school year and said this was the fourth tournament they have held in the last six years. Traditions Bank, Pepsi Bottling Group, and Publix of Priceville were sponsors for the tournament.

Weeks said hosting math tournaments gives students who are more adept at academics than athletics an opportunity for their schools to acknowledge their skills.

"We don't do as many things, I think, for our academic kids, and this gives them something to work for," Weeks said. "They are the cream of the crop." or 256-340-2442.