Knights Divide and Conquer Math Day

Student Divide and Conquer at Lincoln’s Math Day Competition 


On Thursday, Nov. 17, Mount Michael sent three students to compete at the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Math Day.  

The event began at 9am in Lincoln, which meant an early morning departure for seniors Will Brewster and Shintaro Oda, sophomore John Mohs, and team manager and math teacher Mr. Jason Mackeprang. Math Day was composed of two parts: a team quiz bowl tournament and an individual Probe II test.   

The Knight’s first tournament foes were from Gretna High School. The team had a tough time getting accustomed to the quiz bowl style questions, but were able to escape with a narrow 5-4 victory. This victory gave an initial confidence boost, which John Mohs said had “a huge impact on our later success.”  

The Knights matched up with Elkhorn North in their second round. Although the rivalry between the two schools was not as strong as seen on the gridiron or hardwood, the Knights were still set on proving their athematic skills. The trio hit a hot streak and shut out the Wolves with a score of 6-0.  

However, the victory streak for the team did not last long. They met the eventual runner-up team from Scottsbluff and were defeated by a rare score of 9-3. This score was a rare occurrence, as it meant all 12 questions in the round were answered correctly.  

The Knights recovered from defeat over their nearly three hours of break. While Mohs was busy attacking the Probe II exam, the remaining team members enjoyed lunch at a UNL dining facility.  

Over the lunch period, the Knights learned of their next opponent: the Marian Crusader Mathletes. The team embraced their underdog and strove to shock the doubters. This mentality proved to be pivotal for the three. The match was an uphill battle, but a hot start proved to be the difference and the team came away with a 5-4 win.  

The Knights final matchup of the was with Millard North. The team came up short against the Mustangs but were still very happy with the day.  

A recent change to UNL Math Day was the elimination of enrollment-based divisions, which has had a negative impact on the Knights. They competed against schools with enrollments more than two times larger than Mount Michael’s.  

Unlike Mount Michael, many schools have Math Clubs devoted to preparing for competitions like Math Day. Most of these clubs meet at least once a week to practice questions for tournaments. Despite not having an official club, the team proved that with determination and innate ability, they could beat the odds.