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Follansbee pupils advance to state math competition

March 8, 2013
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer ( , Weirton Daily Times

FOLLANSBEE - Two Follansbee Middle School pupils will compete Saturday in a statewide competition testing their ability to quickly solve a variety of math problems.

Sixth-grader Connor Combs and seventh-grader Colin Heilman will be among many pupils competing in the West Virginia MATHCOUNTS competition, which will be held at Braxton County Middle School in Sutton.

The two had the top individual scores for their school in the regional MATHCOUNTS competition held Feb. 16 at Belmont College in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and involving 76 pupils from six area schools.

Article Photos

COOL CALCULATIONS — Connor Combs and Colin Heilman will represent Follansbee Middle School at the West Virginia MATHCOUNTS competition Saturday. They were part of a team that competed at the regional level of the competition Feb. 16 and included, front from left, Combs and Heilman; and back, Taylor Pannett, coach Scott Abercrombie and Koty Hudson. -- Warren Scott

They also competed as part of a team that also included eighth-graders Taylor Pannett and Koty Hudson.

Scott Abercrombie, their coach, said all of the pupils worked hard to prepare for the competition.

"We've been meeting for 45 minutes every morning before school for four months to prepare. They have breakfast while they practice," he said.

It's Abercrombie's first year as the school's MATHCOUNTS coach, following the departure of Erin Ankrum, who led the school to many state competitions and five national competitions over a 29-year period.

This year's national competition will be held May 9-13 at Washington, D.C.

The competition requires participants to apply problem-solving skills to story problems and involves four rounds:

The Sprint Round, which calls for participants to solve 30 problems as individuals in about 40 minutes.

The Target Round, in which teams of two are given six minutes to apply such mathematical concepts as probability, statistics, linear algebra and polynomials to story problems.

The Team Round, in which teams of four work together to solve 10 problems in about 20 minutes.

The Countdown Round, a fast-paced segment conducted in a quiz show style, with pupils competing as individuals and ringing buzzers when they know the answer.

The regional competition involves registered and non-registered team and individual competitors. The difference between the two categories is that non-registered competitors may not advance to the state level, but the competition provides them valuable experience for future years.

Also representing Follansbee Middle School as team or individual competitors were: Dylan Wounaris, Johanna Weiler, Mitchell Williams, Mason Zopp, George Makricostas, Margo Taverne, Noelle Lamantia, Josh Taflan, Carlie Cross and Adrianna Bailey.

(Scott can be contacted at

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