CHS math teams place third in county tourney

Published 2:07 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Both of Calera High School’s math teams placed third at the county math tournament March 22. (Contributed)

Both of Calera High School’s math teams placed third at the county math tournament March 22. (Contributed)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

CALERA— Two math teams from Calera High School brought home third place trophies after competing in the county math tournament.

Math coaches Shelli Morse and Patti Waldrip took 16 students, divided into a six-person algebra I team and a 10-person advanced math team, to the Shelby County Instructional Services Center in Alabaster March 22.

“I was so excited for them,” said Waldrip, who coached the advanced math team. “They really didn’t go into it thinking they had a chance. For them to get that trophy, I was just tickled. I was thrilled for them.”

Every student who entered the tournament had to complete a 25 question multiple-choice test. For every correct answer, the students are awarded four points, and one point was subtracted for every wrong answer.

When they were finished, Waldrip said the students went into a room with all the other teams. Then four students from each team participated in the ciphering section of the competition.

During ciphering, Waldrip said a math problem was projected onto a screen and the students were given two minutes to solve it. Correct answers given in the first minute were awarded five points, and correct answers given in the second minute earned three points.

“It takes a unique student to cipher because you have to do it with speed and accuracy,” Waldrip said.

The teams started training for the tournament after Christmas, meeting once a week for one hour. Waldrip said the whole team never practiced together all at once previous to the tournament.

Most of the students involved in the math teams were also involved in sports, drama productions or other extra-curricular activities.

“Basically, we would just sit down and rework old tests, talk about the shortcuts to those answers and jog their memory about certain problems,” Waldrip explained.

Although Waldrip had to score tests during the ciphering portion, she was there during the award ceremony. She said her favorite moment was when they announced Calera High School won third place.

“When they called out Calera High School, no one moved,” Waldrip laughed. “They were shocked…they were pretty excited afterward.”

Since then, Waldrip said she compared the teams’ scores with Calera’s scores from last year. On average, she said the scores were higher than last year. In the future, she said she hopes to add algebra II and geometry teams to the tournament.