The arithmetic was easy enough: First place plus second place equals some happy Omaha Public Schools kids.
Math teams from OPS led the field Saturday at the 30th annual Mathcounts Eastern Chapter Competition.
The team from Lewis and Clark Middle School, coached by Mariel Kloppenborg, took first place.
Second-place went to Buffett Magnet Middle School.
Brownell Talbot School, a private school, came in third.
The competition is sponsored by the Nebraska Society of Professional Engineers. It draws hundreds of students from public and private middle schools across the metropolitan area. Students compete in target, sprint and team rounds, wrestling with mind-boggling math problems.
Lewis and Clark team member Nick Lacroix knocked off nine competitors in a row, including the day’s top individual finisher, Darrel Chew of Buffett, to win the high-pressure countdown round. In that demonstration round, the day’s top-scoring students competed head-to-head in quiz-show style, buzzing in quickly to answer.
“I was nervous the whole time,” said Lacroix, who fell behind a couple of times but battled back.
Lacroix said he’s not sure why he’s so good at math. He said he can just see patterns in numbers.
He said he also enjoys chess, reading, playing video games and drumming in the school’s band and jazz band.
Chew’s top individual honor continues a family tradition of math excellence. Older brothers Derek and Darren also were powerhouses at MathCounts competitions.
The competition was held at the Ramada Plaza hotel, 72nd and Grover Streets.
The best teams and individuals advance to Nebraska’s state MathCounts competition next month.
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Saturday's top finishers at the Eastern Chapter Mathcounts Competition, held Saturday in Omaha:
Top 10 teams
1. Lewis and Clark Middle School (Omaha Public Schools)
2. Buffett Magnet Middle School (OPS)
3. Brownell Talbot School (private)
4. Papillion Junior High School (Papillion-La Vista)
5. Russell Middle School (Millard)
6. Gretna Middle School (Gretna)
7. Mary Our Queen School (Catholic)
8. St. Vincent de Paul School (Catholic)
9. Logan Fontenelle Middle School (Bellevue)
10. St. Robert Bellarmine School (Catholic)
Top 10 individuals
1. Darrel Chew, Buffett
2. Matthew Gromowsky, Mary Our Queen
3. Priya Kukreja, Buffett
4. Nick Lacroix, Lewis and Clark
5. Khoa Nguyen, Kiewit Middle School (Millard)
6. Logan Sampson, Arlington (Neb.) Junior-Senior High School
7. Owen Gong, Russell
8. Joe McGill, St. Robert Bellarmine
9. Jacob Mann, Gretna
10. Zach Cairney, St. Vincent de Paul