MEEKER I On Feb. 28, students from Barone Middle School traveled to Grand Junction to compete in the Western Slope MathCounts competition, emerging as champions in the team competition and placing highly as individuals.
With the win, the team earned the right to represent the Western Slope in the state competition at the University of Denver on March 21.
Eighth graders Kale Burke and Pake Burke finished tied for seventh as individual competitors and were leaders of the four-person team that won the team event. Ridge and Brynlee Williams also provided solid performances as the Meeker team outscored foursomes from much larger schools.
Other individual competitors from Meeker included seventh-graders Makenna Burke and Jose Garcia.
While qualifiers for the competition are typically eighth-graders, Meeker was represented by five sixth-graders, including John Baker, Ryan Phelan, Abbigail Moon and Marryn Shults joining Brynlee Williams. All of the Meeker students finished in the top three quartiles of the contest.
“I am really excited for this bunch; we were representing one of the smallest schools in the competition, but we came out on top,” said Dr. Chris Williams, a Meeker coach. “These students have been showing up with Mr. (Zach) Clatterbaugh and other coaches outside of school hours to practice math.
“Most kids would complain about the extra academics, but not them,” he said. “We promoted last year’s regional champion to high school and were short several other students because of conflicts with basketball games, a wrestling tournament and a funeral.
“At the contest, some officials were aware that we were without a previous state qualifier and a contest favorite in Kenzie Turner as well as other solid team members like Jake Shelton, Colby Clatterbaugh, Madison Kindler and Carter Strate,” Williams said. “I don’t think they realized we were still there to win. They were very impressed as we took the competition, and it just goes to show how great our Meeker kids are. They worked, and they prepared themselves and when they had the opportunity, they were ready.”
Barone Middle School has sent teams to the Western Slope Chapter competition for the last three years. Competing in a single division against schools of all sizes (both public and private), multiple Meeker middle school students have qualified to represent the Western Slope at the state competition each year.
“The contest administrator told the students that with more than 5,000 students attending middle schools in the region covered by the Western Slope Chapter, just being among the 120 or so students qualifying for the regional competition would put all of the competitors among the top two or three percent of middle school mathematicians in Western Colorado,” Williams said. “Our kids topped that by proving to be the very best of that select group.”