BANGOR, Maine — Considering Bangor High School has one of the biggest enrollments in the state, one might think smaller schools would be no problem for Bangor’s math teams in their statewide competitions this year.
However, Bangor had to overcome a 17-point deficit against smaller Hebron Academy in the final day of competition recently to take the state championship.
“It was neck-and-neck with them at one point,” said junior Henry Chai, whose 251 points was second-best on the Bangor Red team and fifth-best in the state.
The math teams and individuals from Bangor High, along with the school’s Junior Engineering Technical Society team which recently placed among the top teams in the nation, were honored Tuesday morning during an assembly in the school’s Red Barry Gymnasium.
It had been several years since Bangor had won the state math championship after a few years of close finishes, math teacher and team coach Stephen Godsoe said.
“It means a lot to me,” said senior Joshua Scripture, whose score of 252 points led Bangor and was fourth overall in the state. “I’m pretty big into this competition. I wanted to have a lot of fun and win a state championship along the way.”
The Bangor Red team scored 1,558 points over the course of five meets to best Hebron (1,546 points) and 136 other teams from a total of 95 schools. Some schools, such as Bangor, entered more than one team.
More than 1,500 individuals participated in the math competitions.
Bangor Red qualified for the New England Association of Mathematics League championships, which will be held May 2 in Canton, Mass.
Even though Bangor was ahead of Hebron immediately after the final meet, there was a two-week wait for appeals to go through as students challenged the answers. Standings frequently change in that time period.
“It’s an excruciatingly painful appeals process,” Scripture said. “It was nice when they officially crowned us champions.”
The competitions consist of both individual and team problems.
“It’s not like an actual high school math test,” Scripture said. “It’s like a math test with all kinds of tricks thrown in. It’s as if they’re trying to get us to miss.”
Although Bangor Red had its strong individuals, Chai said Bangor’s team dynamic was key.
“We got 100 out of 100 on two team rounds,” he said. “That’s unheard of, really. Our team was one of the strongest we’d had since I’ve been here, so I felt like we had a really good shot at winning.”
Hebron’s Green team wound up with 1,546 points, followed by Cheverus of Portland in third place with 1,508 points.
Scripture, Chai and team members Andrew Audibert and Andy Prusaitis will attend nationals at the end of May at Penn State University.
Junior Ryan Gao of Falmouth scored 286 points to take first place among individuals.
Bangor’s JETS teams were also recognized Tuesday. JETS coach and math teacher Mark Brittelli announced the JETS Varsity A team had placed 12th in the nation out of more than 2,200 teams in its division, and the Varsity B team was 23rd.
The JETS teams had swept the state competitions for the eighth year in a row to qualify for nationals.
Will Whitham, one of the math team members, was recognized for his achievements in another field. Whitham is in Washington, D.C., this week to take part in the finals of the Poetry Out Loud Competition, a recitation contest. He was one of 12 finalists competing Tuesday night for a $20,000 prize.