Divide and Conquer at SIUC

The HHS Math Team’s Triumphant Return from SIUC
Math Team assembled, trophy in hand, buzzing from victory.
Math Team assembled, trophy in hand, buzzing from victory.
Photography, Mr. Lemons

On Tuesday, March 26, the HHS Math Team journeyed to Southern Illinois University Carbondale to compete in their annual Field Day.  At eight in the morning, dressed in their uniforms, primed and ready, the entire team assembled in the commons.  They felt well prepared for the day after an evening practice at HHS on March 25.  Mr. Harlow was incredibly excited for the day—he couldn’t wait to see how well the Math Team would do.  The students, though a bit tired, also felt confident in their abilities.  

When the bus arrived, Mr. Harlow dismissed the team by class in rank of seniority and they all piled into Bus 414.  Arriving at SIUC, the team deboarded and entered the Banterra Center, where University staff and student volunteers stood at the ready.  Everyone on the team (alternates and otherwise) was given a copy of the same, 67 question test.  Beginning at ten o’clock, each student had a two-hour time limit within which to answer as many questions as they felt confident.  

Additionally, a group of eighth graders from the Herrin Middle School were brought to SIUC with Mr. Lemons as their proctor.  He believes exposing future Math Team members to the field day “helps their experience so they’re less nervous and more excited when the day comes.”

Notably, Mr. Harlow ordered all Herrin Math Team Members to remain in their seats, working, for the entire two hours.  He said: “It shows that we are serious about — not just this contest — but about all the contests we go to.  When we’re given a two-hour limit, we’re going to use every second of those two hours.”  He pointed out that leaving early (at 11:15, any student who wanted to could leave) “could be leaving points out there that we might get.”  When finished with their tests, Mr. Harlow wanted students to “work it again.  Work it a third time.  Work it a fourth time.”  Mr. Harlow knows this all shows that the Herrin Math Team takes their task seriously, displaying this to both Herrin students and the students and coaches of other Math Teams.  

At noon, students were free to partner up and go to the SIUC Student Center for lunch.  Following lunch, the team re-assembled in the Banterra Center for the awards ceremony.  An impromptu basketball game entertained the HHS students, put on by fifteen or so students from different schools.

At two, the ceremony began and, when all was said and done, Herrin did extraordinarily well.  The Math Team made a full sweep of the AA Division of the contest, with each class winning among their respective classes.  The Herrin Math Team, by an easy margin, won the First Overall Trophy for the 2023 Math Team Field Day.  

The name of our city was called repeatedly as the top twenty students for each grade level were recognized.

Overall, Mr. Harlow and Ms. Howerton are incredibly proud of their students who have dedicated their mornings, lunches, and evenings to practices.  Now, Mr. Harlow and Ms. Howerton are turning their heads to the state contest in Bloomington on April 6.  Thus, with this energizing victory behind them, everyone on the Math Team (and the onlookers who follow them) is beginning to focus on the newest horizon—conquest in Bloomington.

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