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The Saratoga Falcon

Yim to take MathCounts team to nationals

pjyim
During the third week of May, math teacher PJ Yim will be taking the California MathCounts team to the national math competition. Set to occur in Orlando, Fla, this middle school competition is essentially the mathematical equivalent of the National Spelling Bee.
Yim first got his position as the Redwood Middle School MathCounts coach after middle school parents asked him to coach the four-person team.
He was then awarded the position of state coach after Redwood’s MathCounts team received the highest score in the California state competition, which took place at Stanford University on March 17. Before making it to the state competition, the Redwood Middle School team also took first place in the Santa Clara chapter (regional) competition.
According to Yim, the contest is broken up into three rounds. The first round, the sprint round, consists of 30 questions with a short 40-minute time limit. This is followed by the target round, which is broken up into four rounds of two questions each. These two rounds are completed individually and determine the individual scores.
In the final team round, each state team is given 10 questions to solve. The team score depends solely on this round, which determines which state wins the entire national competition.
The state team will consist eighth grade students Celine Liang and Sean Shi from Redwood Middle School, one student from David Starr Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto and one student from Southern California.
“It is a huge honor for me to coach the state team, but it is also a great time commitment,” Yim said.
According to Yim, he spends five to six hours per week working with the MathCounts team. 
The team practices every Tuesday, Saturday, and even Sunday some weeks with the student from Southern California occasionally flying up to join the sessions. According to Yim, the hard work that these middle schoolers put in will pay off in their high school years.
“It is scary how good some of these kids are,” Yim said. “These incoming 8th graders have the potential to equal or one-up the achievements of some of last year’s seniors and the current seniors.”
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