Submitted photo
Team members of the Math Wizards are in front, from left, Taylor Reinhardt, Jaxon Strinmoen, Jacob Olerud, Isaac Nerstad and Ethan Crouch; and standing are: Haley Ellingson, Trae Ronan, Dane Edgington, Lawrence Skauge, Logan Brumm, Josh Newgaard, Nathan Solberg, Tysen Grinde, Ty Cleven, Caleb Griffin, Ella Wennes, Lydia Solum and Katelyn Kraus.
Submitted photo Team members of the Math Wizards are in front, from left, Taylor Reinhardt, Jaxon Strinmoen, Jacob Olerud, Isaac Nerstad and Ethan Crouch; and standing are: Haley Ellingson, Trae Ronan, Dane Edgington, Lawrence Skauge, Logan Brumm, Josh Newgaard, Nathan Solberg, Tysen Grinde, Ty Cleven, Caleb Griffin, Ella Wennes, Lydia Solum and Katelyn Kraus.
Fifth- and sixth-grade students had some competitive fun with math this winter. The annual competitions of area Math Wizards teams were held during the months of January and February, and Spring Grove students did well for themselves.

There were a total of 18 students on the team between the two classes. Spring Grove has had Math Wizards teams since 1994 according to third-grade teacher Deb Morken.

“They have a great time,” Morken said. “I love seeing kids being competitive in math.”

Morken is the coordinator of the south league and was previously a coach.

Fifth-grade teacher Kelsey Morken is the coach this year. She helps the students with speed rounds, reducing fractions, order of operations and other strategies they can use during the competition.

The entire team is split into teams of five, depending on who comes to the competition.

Deb Morken said usually they have one or two teams at competitions, depending on what other events are going on, like basketball games.

Area school districts are split into two leagues, north and south. Meets start in January and end in the middle of February.

The North League consists of Chatfield, Dover-Eyota, Lewiston-Altura, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Rushford-Peterson and Wabasha-Kellogg.

The South League includes Fillmore Central, Houston, Kingsland, Lanesboro, Mabel-Canton and Spring Grove.

There are three rounds to one Math Wizard meet. Five students from one school compete with five other students from another school.

A room monitor from a different school than that of the two teams is present in the room. The questions are announced over the intercom, and students write the answers.

Most of the questions in the competition reflect what they learn in class.

Round one is the Wizard Quiz, which is a five-minute speed drill that must be answered without using a calculator.

The second round are individual rounds with 24 story

problems to be solved. Students can choose which ones to solve or solve them all.

The final round is a team round with 10 questions that are answered by the team.

Students can earn individual points that contribute to the team’s total points. Medals and trophies are awarded for the top two students with the most points.

The North and South leagues each host two meets within their own league. Then they come together for one big meet in Chatfield, which includes about 195 kids, Deb said.

She added some schools have Math Wizards as an alternative a program, but in Spring Grove, all fifth and sixth graders have a chance to be a part of Math Wizards.

“I let anybody who wants to compete,” she said. “I like to let anyone try something.”

This year’s results include a sixth-grade team that placed second and many individual winners.

The first meet was hosted at Wykoff. Fifth-grader Clara Myrah tied for sixth place in Wizard Quiz and Josh Newgaard was second in the Individual Round while Katelyn Kraus placed 10th in Individual Round.

Sixth graders who placed were: Dane Edgington and Lydia tied for fifth, and Haley Ellingson tied for ninth in Wizard Quiz.

Tysen Grinde placed seventh in the Individual Round.

Lydia Solum was the top Individual sixth Grader from the whole meet (1st place).

Grade 6 Team 1 placed second in the Team Round.

At the second meet hosted at Spring Grove, fifth-grade winners were Jacob Olerud in second for Wizard Quiz and Jaxon Strinmoen in third place for the Individual Round.

In sixth-grade, winners were Nathan Solberg in third and Dane Edgington in fourth for Wizard Quiz. Haley Ellingson and Ty Cleven tied for seventh in Wizard Quiz.

Dane Edgington placed ninth, and Haley Ellingson placed 10th in the Individual Round.

At the Chatfield meet, two students medaled fifth-grade place winners were Clara Myrah in 13th for Wizard Quiz and sixth-grader Lydia Solum placed 12th in Wizard Quiz.