Spence Math Team Wins Second Place at the Downtown Mathematics Invitational

Two Spence math teams—Team Gold and Team Blue—were the only all-girls teams competing against 34 high school teams in this weekend’s Downtown Mathematics Invitational held at Stuyvesant High School, a distinction that made Team Gold’s second-place finish even more notable. 
The six-member Team Gold, that includes four seniors and two sophomores, had an impressive run with a final tally of 90.9 points, well ahead of teams including Trinity, Bronx Science, Horace Mann and Hunter College High School, and only 4.5 points behind the first-place Dalton Tigers. These standings represent a wonderful gain compared to last year’s third-place win and the eighth-place finish the year prior, which was the inaugural year of the Downtown Mathematics Invitational. 
“Members of the Spence Gold team all attended the competition last year,” shared math teacher and team advisor Carolyn Wendler, adding that “the captains mapped out a strategy based on their experience.”
The all-day competition, a mini-American Regions Mathematics League contest,  included four team and individual rounds: Power Round (30 points), Team Round (30 points), Individual Round (60 points) and a Marathon Round (26 points). The Power Round included an hour to work as a team to perform calculations and write proofs based on the given background information. The Marathon Round involved tackling 26 questions in 60 minutes, during which they solved problems such as: “100 can be written as the sum of n distinct primes. Compute the greatest possible value of n,” and “How many zeroes does the decimal expansion of 2019! end in?”
“I think what gave us an edge was our familiarity with our teammates from going to competitions in the past and our ability to boost each other’s morale,” reflected senior team captain Nancy X. ’20 who herself was tied for the second place individual score by earning a 9/10 the Individual Round before ending the day in fourth place after a run-off match. “The Math Team has been an integral part of my Spence experience since freshman year, and I am very glad that we were able to bring two teams and prep underclassmen to be the future leaders of the team,” Nancy added. This year, Team Blue placed 27th overall.
“They discussed time management and communication systems ahead of time,” shared Wendler, adding that the team’s senior and junior captains—Nancy X., Caroline C. ’20, Brooke P. ’21 and Sabine C. ’22—ran twice-weekly practices throughout the fall. According to Wendler, “They specifically prepared for the Power Round and the Individual Round and their goal, based on last year, was to get higher individual scores and to place in the top three again.” 
Having exceeded their goal with a second-place finish, junior captain Sabine credits the team’s success to the encouraging and supportive leadership of the team’s senior captains and their ability to think critically about math. “We’ve learned how to think about math instead of just learning theorems,” she said, noting that was their edge during the Power Round’s proofing portion. 
Reflecting on the team’s growth, Caroline C. notes, “It’s been so cool to see how much our consistent group has grown since freshman year and how the style of collaboration we’ve developed gives us a leg up on other teams.”

Click here to check out the challenging questions the Spence Math teams solved at the competition and try solving them yourself!  
Congratulations to the Spence Math teams represented by the following students.
Spence Gold
Nancy X. ’20
Caroline C. ’20
Sabine C. ’22
Kurumi S. ’20
Erin C. ’20
Julia F. ’22
Spence Blue
Courtney L. ’20
Cate S. ’23
Sarah P. ’23
Olivia M. ’23
Isabel R. ’23
Sarina M. ’21