SMC Brings Home Prestigious Math Award
On Saturday, April 7, over 150 college freshman and sophomores from across the Southeast U.S. competed in the 24th annual North Georgia Mathematics Tournament. Freshman John Smoak, sophomore Daniel Sabillon, and sophomore Fabian Salinas made up the SMC team. Salinas placed second overall, while Smoak placed 6th and Sabillon finished 7th.
“This year’s SMC math team set a standard that will be difficult to match,” SMC math professor David Gibson says. “But the accomplishments they have achieved and the excitement they have created will make it fun and challenging for any future math teams here at Spartanburg Methodist College.”
Held at the University of North Georgia in Gainesville, this math tournament is a rigorous two-part challenge spanning an entire afternoon. The morning competition is a 90-minute multiple choice calculus exam, with 40 high-level calculus problems that students must solve without the aid of calculators. The afternoon session, which lasts about two and a half hours, features ten rounds of challenging problems using algebra, trigonometry, statistics, logic, and Calculus.
Most schools came with teams of ten or more students, compared to SMC’s three-student contingent. Overall, SMC placed second in the entire tournament, despite having a smaller team when compared to other schools.
SMC’s math team formed in late February, and began holding after-school math practice in order to prepare for the tournament. “We mostly went over problems from the morning calculus exams that had been given at the tournament in the past six or seven years,” Gibson says. “Some of the problems were so challenging, I could not figure out how to solve them myself. But our team members, especially top guy Fabian Salinas, could usually be counted on to find a solution, or in some cases to find a quicker way to get there.”
Professor Gibson notes that even though SMC brought only three members, the college team was edged out of first place by a large college from the Atlanta area which brought 28 students from three different campuses. He expects this to be the first of many tournament wins in the years to come.