BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Auditorium floor was filled with almost 1,000 students, the competition was intense and there was a lot on the line, but you could hear a protractor drop.
Basketballs gave way to calculators and scoreboards were replaced by scoresheets as Tuesday’s daylong 36th annual Maine State Math Meet brought 93 Maine high school teams and almost 950 students under the same roof to compete for numerical superiority.
That distinction, for the second straight year, went to the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone, which tallied the highest total score of 743 to win the overall and Class A titles.
“We started off with very few missed questions and were pretty consistent the whole day,” said MSSM senior Thomas Murphy.
While many teams featured bright T-shirts, some with catchy slogans, puns and creative mottos, MSSM went with the formal look as team members wore suits and ties or dresses.
“I wore a suit last year. No one else did, but I just felt like being formal,” said senior Klaas Pruiksma. “This year, the whole team did it.”
Bangor finished as Class A runner-up for the second straight year with 610 points.
“We’ve had a banner every year since 2005, either winning regular season or this meet, but we came in second in both this year, so we’re a little bummed,” said Bangor coach Carl Robbins. “But when you’re going against THE charter school in the state, if they’re our ultimate competition, that says a lot about the job these kids have done.”
“Bangor is one of our strongest competitors and this year we just barely won the season title by three points over them,” said MSSM head coach Pete Pedersen. “They won the state meet three years ago and we’ve won the last two.”
The other top team finishes came from Class B winner Fryeburg Academy with 727 points, Class C winner Foxcroft Academy with 529, and Class D champ Hebron Academy with 635.
Individual honors for seniors and the overall best score of the day were shared by seniors Ethan DiNinno of Cape Elizabeth, Yunrui “Re” Li of Thornton Academy in Saco, and Xinyue “Elaine” Deng of Fryeburg. All three scored 72.
The junior individual champ was Ove Hou from Washington Academy of East Machias with a 65. Cape Elizabeth’s Deven Roberts scored 67 to win the sophomore title and Bangor eighth-grader Conor Thompson won the freshman crown with a 67.
“I love this. Math is my favorite subject,” said Thompson, who is also a member of his school’s chess and French clubs. “I’d like to be a mathematician and maybe either teach it or do research.”
The puns and double entendres on several teams’ T-shirts — such as “Sweet Po-Theta Pi” (Easton), “Calcoholics Anonymous” (Monmouth Academy), “Math puns are the first sine of madness” (Greely High School of Cumberland Center), and “Math team angles of approach: What’s your sine? … I’ll be the supplement to your angle” and eight other math pick-up lines (Erskine Academy of South China) — showed that students can be great at math and still have a great sense of humor.
“Most of these kids are not geeks,” said Barbara Solomon, Maine Association of Math Leagues vice president. “They do everything in their high schools. A lot of them are athletes. … They are also tremendously witty and so much fun to be around.”
“It’s mostly the kids. This is for the kids,” said Brewer math teacher and team coach Angela Szucs. “They come here to have fun, to do some math — which for some people is fun.”