Berkeley Math Competition

By Samantha Hsiung


   The Berkeley Math Tournament hosts and organizes mathematical contests for middle and high school students. This year, for the first time, junior-high students from Pinewood will take part in this tournament.The Berkeley Math Tournament, located in the UC Berkeley campus, is comprised of individual, speed, team, puzzle, and tiebreaker rounds. Except for the individual rounds, five students participate as a team in all of these rounds. Pinewood math teachers Rachel Phillips and Amarnath Santhanam are excited to guide students to the UC Berkeley campus to compete in this tournament.

   “We have had several great practices. I think it’s going to be a fun weekend of team-building and challenging math!” Phillips said. 

Last year, Phillips led her first math tournament: an online tournament called Math Madness. 

   Though we, [a team of eighth grade students], didn’t do very well, we had a blast competing against other schools. I think our excitement will only increase going to compete in person!” Phillips said.  

   Despite already having a set schedule, Phillips has some additional things planned. “We’ll probably arrive early, get some snacks, and then get right to solving! The great thing about the Berkeley Math Tournament is that it’s a team event. We’ll have three teams of five students making their way through five rounds of competition.” Phillips said.

   In addition to the thrill of the competition, Phillips is an alum of UC Berkeley, which only adds to her excitement. 

   Angel Guo, an eight grade student participating in the upcoming Berkley Math tournament, is both nervous and thrilled. 

   “It seems more fun and interesting than a regular math tournament because there are different rounds, and you can compete alongside your fellow classmates,” Guo said. 

   While she has participated in Math Olympiad and AMC 8 at Pinewood last year, Guo has never participated in an interactive tournament such as this one. Guo is most looking forward to the puzzle round.

   “I find it interesting because people normally don’t think of puzzles when it comes to math,” Guo explained. 

   The interactive and group aspects of the tournament motivated her to join in the first place. Santhanam has joined forces with Phillips to guide students to the tournament. 

  “This will be my first time participating in an event of this sort as a teacher, and it’s been a very long time since I did such things as a student,” Santhanam said. 

   He hasn’t participated in tournaments for many years but is expecting to have a great time watching students apply math knowledge outside of the classroom.

   “I’m expecting to have a lot of fun and to help students see how cool math can be beyond the usual curriculum,” Santhanam exclaimed. 

   He has been co-leading the math practices on Thursdays and believes that the students are ready for the five-part competition. Everyone is in the right mindset, and the only thing left to do is continue preparing for competition day.