PARIS – An Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School student has been ranked first in his math league and second in the state in a math competition held earlier this month.

David Harbage, a senior at the school, was ranked second by the Maine Association of Math Leagues, and he and his teammates placed seventh overall in the March 14 competition.

“Our league was pretty competitive,” said coach and math instructor Allen Gerry.

The biggest test, the state championship, is set to be held April 10 at the University of Maine in Orono.

“We have a very good team. We should do very well.”

The team is part of the Pi-Cone league. The league started in 1969 and has grown to seven locations across Maine.

The leagues meet five times a year at the same time and use the same questions putting everyone on same playing field, said Bryan Morgan, assistant math league coach and teacher at the high school.

Gerry said the teams are under tremendous pressure as they tackle 15 questions in five different categories including algebraic fractions with factoring; trigonometric equations and identities; circles and spheres; comics and arithmetic with statistics. Each student is given 12 minutes to do the three questions in each category.

“They’re not easy problems. They’re under a lot of pressure,” Gerry said.

Harbage said he missed only one question.

“There was so much calculation required that there wasn’t enough time,” said Harbage, who practices for the meets by using test questions from the past 30 years. And with no calculators allowed to round the answer to the nearest tenth as required, time simply ran out.

The question, which was worth five of the overall 12 points, asked, “To tightly bind together three cylindrical barrels, each with a diameter of two feet, a circular hoop is to be formed from metal strapping. What is the minimum length of strap required? Consider only the inside circumference of the strap. Round your answer to the nearest 10th.”

He had five of the available 12 minutes left to calculate the answer and round it to the nearest 10th.

The answer is 13.5 feet.

Other Pi-Cone North Math League members who won awards are:

• Tyler Tinsley, first, high scoring senior award;

• Karen Kumaki, fourth, high scoring junior award;

• Sean Merz, first, high scoring sophomore/freshmen award; and

• Bobbi Surette, fourth, high scoring sophomore/freshmen award.


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