PHS Math Team ‘climbs to the top’

The PHS Math Team took home six trophies from the Shelby County High School Math Competition on April 21. (Contributed)

The PHS Math Team took home six trophies from the Shelby County High School Math Competition on April 21. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—On April 21, the Pelham High School Math Team competed in their biggest event of the year, the Shelby County High School Math Competition at Calera High School. The Pelham High School team placed in all four competition categories, Advanced Math, Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry, and brought home six trophies.

Pelham High School took second place in Algebra I, Geometry and Advanced, and third in Algebra II. Individual winners Juan Granados and Ashlynn Barnett took second and third place in Algebra I, respectively.

The Shelby County High School Math Competition consists of two parts, an hour-long written exam and a series of ciphering problems, PHS math teacher and math team coach Alisa Creel said.

After the exam is completed, each team sends their four highest scoring students in each section to the ciphering phase of the competition. During this phase, students must answer a series of problems in under two minutes.

Team scores are then calculated by combining individual test scores and points from ciphering.

“They were more excited than nervous,” Creel said of the students, who worked all year to prepare for this competition.

The team holds practices before or after the school day throughout the year, and once each month they compete against schools from across the country in tests given by the Math League, an online high school league.

“It’s really a lot of fun,” Creel said of the Math League test days. “We have snacks and drinks after, it’s a little math party.”

This year’s Shelby County High School Math Competition was very special for the PHS team, as next year team members will be split between Pelham and Helena high schools.

“They realized it was the last year they would be together,” Creel said.

The team expressed solidarity through matching student-designed t-shirts, which read: PHS Math Team: Climbing to the Top.

The success of this year’s team set the bar high, however, Creel aspires to continued improvement.

“Next year we will just try to beat this,” Creel said. “We’re shooting for a first place.”