By Michelle Chen
On November 15, 2014, two teams representing Orange County Math Circle arrived at the Harvard University Science Center to sign in for the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament, an international high school math competition held each year in November at Harvard or MIT. Eager to see their hard work pay off, the competitors began with two individual rounds, the General and the Theme Round, separated by a short break. The General Round consisted of 10 problems that covered general topics in competition mathematics.
After the test, the OCMC teams regrouped to discuss their answers and results. The next individual test was the Theme Round, which focused on two specific areas in mathematics. This year, the two topics were probability and parabolas, offering 5 problems for each topic in increasing difficulty. Overall, both teams were in high spirits after completing the two individual tests and looked forward to working together on more challenging problems. The teams were then dispersed into different classrooms for the Team Round, during which they worked together to find solutions to extremely difficult problems spanning various topics in mathematics. By lunch, both teams were exhausted and eager for pizza and soda to replenish their math power. The final round of the competition, the Guts Round, scored submissions in real time, exponentially increasing the stress level. Teams sent designated runners up to one of the three scoring tables to grab new problem sets while turning in the answers to previous problems. By the end, OCMC Omega was in first place, but the scoreboard turned off with a few submissions still unaccounted for.
Then, the awards ceremony began. Individual awards were given out first. In the general round, Eric Xu and Victor Chen tied for 10th, Benjamin Chen placed 6th, and Sam Reinehr placed 4th. Overall individually, Victor Chen placed 7th. Finally, OCMC Omega was 4th in the team round, 2nd in the guts round, and 2nd overall, surpassing their results from last year. OCMC Alpha did pretty well also, placing 41st out of 135 total teams. Congratulations to the OCMC Math Team!