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Muskingum College students master math to win annual
ECC Mathematics Competition


APRIL 13, 2004 - Who among us hasn't furrowed a troubled brow over the monthly mystery of our checking account?

There is, after all, a good deal of pressure involved, with the adding, the subtracting and the purely theoretical science of what has cleared and what still lurks out there somewhere, waiting to confuse us even further.

Here's a word of advice: If you are among those who believe that you can't be out of money because you still have checks left, stay clear of the annual East Central Colleges Mathematics Competition recently won by a four-person team of students from Muskingum College. It was the best finish for Muskingum since a team tied for first place at the competition in 2000.

At the competition, held April 3 at Hiram College, the team was given this as its first problem: "A circle of area A1 is contained in a circle of area A1+A2. If the radius of the larger circle is 3, and the three numbers A1, A2, A1+A2 are in arithmetic progression, what is the radius of the smaller circle?"

The students faced this problem, along with nine others in only three hours, without the benefit of books, notes, calculators or computers. Of course, they did get a break now and then, with perfectly obvious advice on their test sheets like, "You may take the most basic properties of logarithms as given."

The winning Muskingum team was comprised of Richard Shawger '05, Christina Ainsley '06, Laura Anderson '07 and Nanase Harda '05. They traveled to the contest with their faculty advisor, Associate Professor of Mathematics Richard Daquila.

"This is a tough competition with tough problems, and they just did so well." Daquila said, in a moment of staggering understatement. "I have to admit, I'm really proud of them."

The students faced off against teams from 13 other schools and wound up with a total of 73 points out of a possible 100.

"This is very special for the students, and kind of amazing," Daquila said.

Almost as amazing as the last line of instructions on the teams' test sheet that would never, ever occur to the math-impaired--Have Fun!