A small edge: The Edina Math Team’s quest for victory

Aditya Suresh, staff writer

On Nov. 1, Edina High School’s Math Team won their first meet of the regular season, beating Wayzata by a mere two points. The meet was conducted online through a Zoom meeting where students competed individually and as a group against other schools.

The team competes in the regular season, which consists of five meets that take place from early Nov. to early Feb. Each competition earns the team a certain amount of points based on how high they placed. These points help increase the team’s chances of going to the state tournament.

Competitions consist of two smaller competitions, an individual and a team competition. During the individual version, competitors choose two topics from which they solve four problems — in the team round, a group of eight competitors collaborates to solve a set of six problems. “We have a scoring team and then we have non-scoring members who are still competing to get high scores within the state,” Matthew Minowitz, the Math Team’s advisor, said.

The activity is commonly misunderstood—many students think that to join the team, you have to know calculus or other high-level math courses that may intimidate secondary students. 

“A fear that students always have is, ‘How hard is the math going to be?’ but in reality, it only goes from Algebra II to basic Precalculus,” Minowitz said.

Similar to other extracurriculars such as Knowledge Bowl and Science Bowl, Math Team’s transition to online last spring was complicated; the team would meet in person whenever they could and conduct meets online. “Funny enough, the system crashed on the first meet last year,” team captain Mark Gherghetta said.

Luckily, with a year of experience, the competitions ran significantly better than last season. “I thought that the meet went pretty smoothly with the online format,” Gherghetta said.

Fresh off their first win, the members are excited at the chance of going to the state competition and receiving the opportunity to beat their long-time rival, Wayzata High School. Wayzata has consistently placed first at state for the past several years, with Minnetonka High School usually placing second, and Edina placing third. “What we’re looking forward to this season is being first in the state,” Minowitz said. In addition to winning state several times, Wayzata has dominated the regular season as well. “I also want the team to break Wayzata’s 15-year streak of placing first in the regular season,” Gherghetta said.

Although beating Wayzata is a top priority for the team, they also want to improve their math skills. “I’m excited to grow and learn more cool things about math as the competition season progresses,” freshman Aarya Garimella said.

Even though it was only the first meet of the season and they only won by two points, the team is certain that they have a better chance of beating Wayzata this year. Fortunately, with this year’s roster of up-and-coming freshmen and sophomores and experienced juniors and seniors, the team has a good chance of placing first at state and finally dethroning the reigning champions.