1 math team + 177 trophies = 9 state titles for Buchholz


Published: Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 9:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 9:43 p.m.

The bus hardly had room for the Buchholz High School math team and the 177 trophies they won this weekend at the Mu Alpha Theta championship.

Neither could it contain the joy at becoming the first school to win nine state championships in a row, said Will Frazer, coach of the math team.

Fifty-four students competed in Orlando all day Friday and Saturday in three different divisions. About 1,200 high school students from 60 Florida schools joined the Buchholz math team in 45 rounds of answering timed math questions.

The Buchholz math team won two out of the three divisions and lost the last division by one point, but still managed to take first place. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, from Parkland, holds the record with 10 state championships in 11 years.

The Buchholz team had lost its first competition during a regular season in six years last month, but Frazer said it helped show the kids they were being complacent.

“It was a good wake-up call,” he said. “We can’t just show up and win. We have to put the work in.”

But the best part of the competition, according to math team president Jennifer Li, 17, was when the entire team went to the corner of the room and talked about what the team meant to them.

“I’m going to miss the people I’ve grown up with these four years,” she said. “After hearing Mr. Frazer and all the other seniors speak, I was pretty proud.”

Several of Frazer’s students are going to universities such as MIT, Stanford University and Ivy League schools.

“Saying goodbye was difficult,” Frazer said. “There was a lot of hugging, a lot of tears and a lot of picture taking. I think that for a lot of my kids, especially the seniors, it’s hard to let go.”

The Buchholz math team’s next competition is at the 38th annual American Regions Mathematics League at the University of Georgia on May 31 and June 1. Six seniors, including Steve Han, are giving up their graduation ceremony to go put their school on the map one last time, Frazer said.

Han, 17, has never been to a graduation ceremony since the fifth grade, but he said that although he’s sad, he’s willing to skip his high school graduation ceremony for the team.

“My mom and I owe a lot to Mr. Frazer,” he said. “He’s been there for personal issues, written recommendation letters and helped with anything. He always put the math team before his personal life, so I figured I could do the same for him.”

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