“A jar contains 8 red balls, 6 green balls and 24 yellow balls. In order to make the probability of choosing a yellow ball from the jar on the first selection equal to one-half, Kerry will add X red balls and Y green balls. What is the average of X and Y?” The answer to this problem made eighth grader Daesun Yim the 2006 MATHCOUNTS National Champion on May 12, 2006.
The National Competition in this 23rd year moved back to Washington, D.C., well, to close by Arlington, VA. Last year General Motors hosted the competition in Detroit, Michigan. This time the host was Lockheed Martin Corporation headquartered in Arlington. Both General Motors and Lockheed Martin are National Sponsors. The event was held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport, Arlington, Virginia. This prestigious competition drew 228 Mathletes from the 50 states, U.S. Territories, District of Columbia, and schools from the Department of Defense and State Department.
To find the individual National Champion, the top 12 Mathletes, as a result of the written competition rounds, competed in the intense, one-on-one oral Countdown Round. The final two competitors were Yim of West Windsor, NJ and Andrew Ardito of Coxsackie, NY. Yim answered the “colored balls in a jar” math problem in 45 seconds. Also reaching the Semi-finals were Neal Wu of Baton Rouge, LA and Kevin Chen of Missouri City, TX. Wu was last year’s National Champion as a seventh grader.
The top six of the 12 Mathletes competing in the Countdown Round included high written round scorer Neal Wu, and next Daniel Li, Kevin Chen, Nathan Benjamin, Daesun Yim, and Sam Keller.
Daniel Li of Fairfax, VA was part of the first place, Virginia National Team Champions.
As National Champ, Yim received an $8,000 scholarship, a trip to the U.S. Space Camp and a notebook computer. Second place Ardito received a $6,000 scholarship. Semi-finalists Wu and Chen each received a $4,000 scholarship. Wu also received an $8,000 scholarship as the Written Round Winner, and Li received a $6,000 scholarship as the Written Round Runner-up.
The first-place Virginia team members each received a $2,000 scholarship, trip to U.S. Space Camp and a notebook computer.
After the long, long flight from Honolulu to Virginia, and a tough competition, the Hawaii Team did have a great time touring the Nation’s Capital and visiting with U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka. Obviously, jet lag has an effect on participants in competitions robbing them of that edge to make them competitive. The University of Hawaii football team can attest to that effect with their consistently poor performances away from home.
The Hawaii Team placed 37 out of the 57 teams at the National Competition. The highest scoring team member was Dong-Gil Shin of Jarrett Middle School. He ranked 76 out of 228 competitors. His teammates included William Chambers of Iolani School, Edward Hon of Parker School, and Nicole Sato of Punahou School. Their coach was Li Ann Wada of Iolani.
Getting back to the effects of jet lag, the Hawaii Team did not fly the farthest distance, actually the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam Teams flew farther, but the Hawaii Team did have to go through six time zones to compete. If you arrive two or three days before the competition, you will still have trouble sleeping the night before the competition. Not getting enough sleep, your mind will not be as sharp for solving problems. Looking at the results, the top individuals had the advantage of being from the east coast. The top ten teams included Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, from the east coast or eastern half of the mainland. Enough said about the effects of jet lag.
The Founding Sponsors of MATHCOUNTS are the National Society of Professional Engineers, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the CNA Foundations. National Sponsors also include Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Company, Texas Instruments Inc., General Motors Foundation, 3M Foundation, Northrop Grumman Foundation and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
By the way, the answer to the final problem was five.