Anishansu Pradhan MathCounts

Millard North Middle School student Anishansu Pradhan, 14, cracks up while competing Saturday at the annual Nebraska Eastern Chapter MathCounts competition. Pradhan took top individual honors.

Anishansu Pradhan, 14, wants to be an astrophysicist.

On Saturday, he proved to be the brightest star in a room full of high-flying students.

Anishansu claimed top individual honors among 220 students at the annual Nebraska Eastern Chapter MathCounts competition at Omaha’s Ramada Plaza convention center.

The competition is sponsored by the Nebraska Society of Professional Engineers.

Anishansu’s team from Millard North Middle School also took first place.

Participants from 30 middle schools competed to solve mind-blowing math problems.

Just check out this practice question:

A four-digit perfect square integer is created by placing two positive two-digit perfect square integers next to each other. What is the four-digit square integer?

Answer: 1,681

Anishansu said he got the itch to be an astrophysicist a few years ago.

“When I was 10 years old, I went to the NASA center down in Houston, Texas, and I got interested in all the space stuff, and because I like math a lot,” he said.

His father, Samir Pradhan, and mother, Madhu Sahoo, are engineers.

Taking top honors feels good after all the preparation, Anishansu said.

He credited Millard team coach Jessi King for pushing students to achieve.

King said the students drive themselves to get better “and I feel like I’m the one in the background sometimes.”

Other members of the winning team were Ian Parmley, Joseph Zhong and Santosh Kota.

The remaining top-10 individual finishers were: 2. Joseph Zhong, Millard North Middle School; 3. Brayden Whitaker, St. Patrick School; 4. Ava Steel, Westside Middle School; 5. Anthony Vu, Papillion Junior High School; 6. Liyang Guo, Millard North Middle School; 7. Reese Pike, Westside Middle School; 8. Theo Janse, Westside Middle School; 9. Grant Goding, Alfonza W. Davis Middle School; 10. Matthew Koenig, Papillion Junior High School.

Rounding out the top six teams were: 2. Papillion Junior High School; 3. Westside Middle School; 4. Gretna Middle School; 5. Alfonza W. Davis Middle School; 6. Mary Our Queen School.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1077,

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