Area students advance to state MATHCOUNTS

Published 7:41 am Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Harlan Middle School eighth grader Jackson Huff won top individual honors and his team took first in the regional MATHCOUNTS competition held recently on the Campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro.

Sponsored by the Pine Mountain Chapter of the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers, the competition featured schools from Bell County, Harlan County and Harlan Independent.

Corey Napier, a member of the KSPE Pine Mountain Chapter, said the competition is for sixth, seventh and eighth graders.

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Members of the Harlan team advancing to the state competition in addition to Huff are Elizabeth Esan, Krisha Sajnani, John Mark Bryson and Campbell Nunez. Coach is Lonnie Huff.

Members of the Bell Central team, which took second place, advancing to state include Bub Treece, Elizabeth Black, Grace Wilder and Shelby Cornett. Coach is Amanda Day.

Others advancing to state as individuals are Laila Hensley, Dillon Scott and Caleb Rose of Rosspoint; and Brady Woodard of James A. Cawood Elementary School.

The top 10 individual scores in order of placement were Huff, Treece, Esan, Hensley, Cornett, Scott, Sajnani, Woodard, Black and Rose. Danielle Asher of Green Hills will advance as well.

Sajnani was the winner of the countdown competition.

Huff won a full tuition scholarship to the University of Kentucky. The son of Lonnie and LeAnne Huff, he has won the Kentucky Governor’s Cup region math competition for two years and also has been a member of the top quick recall and future problem solving which also won top honors in the region.

He plays basketball at Harlan Middle School where his team won the 13th Region All “A” Championship for 2017-18 and earned second place in the Area Nine Middle School Cross Country in 2017-18. He is a member of the Playmakers AAU Basketball Team, serves as a Math Tutor at Harlan Middle School and a member of the Gifted and Talented/Leadership Program and the Harlan Christian Church Youth Group.

Huff plans to attend the University of Kentucky and pursue a career in law.

Napier said the “MATHCOUNTS competition is designed to be completed in approximately three hours. Each competition consists of four parts: the Sprint, Target, Team and Countdown Rounds.”

A professional engineer for Vaughn and Melton Consulting Engineers Inc., Napier said “The Sprint Round has 30 questions, and students have 40 minutes to complete them. The Target Round consists of eight questions, which are distributed to the students two at a time. Students have six minutes to complete each pair of problems. The Team Round has 10 problems for the team to work together within the 20 minute time limit. The top 25 percent of individuals, up to a maximum of 10, proceed to the Countdown Round, an oral round in which students compete head-to-head.”

Napier explained MATHCOUNTS is a national math enrichment, coaching and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement through grassroots involvement in every U.S. state and territory. MATHCOUNTS is one of the most successful education partnerships involving volunteers, educators and industry sponsors and students.

The organization’s mission statement is to increase enthusiasm for and enhance achievement in middle school mathematics throughout the United States, he said. It is supported primarily by the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers, the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics and the CAN Foundation.

For more information about MATHCOUNTS, visit