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Wednesday, March 20, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Central Area School Wins Mathematics Competition -- Middle School Becomes Four-Time State Champion

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

If the world of scholastic math were a kingdom, the students at Washington Middle School would be its royal family.

The school's math team, coached by Gary Pounder, won first place in the statewide MathCounts competition among 52 middle schools last weekend in Wenatchee, becoming the only team in the tournament's history to win four times.

That is no small achievement in the cutthroat world of middle-school mathematics, says Pounder, who draws upon his experience as a football coach to whip his students into shape. He calls them "mathletes."

"I test the heck out of them, and then I practice the heck out of them," Pounder said.

Pounder's team at the mathematics magnet school in Seattle's Central Area practices on problems that'll "make your brain explode," he said. "The kids just eat 'em up."

The hard work paid off big for the four students who went to the state competition, sponsored by the Washington Society of Professional Engineers.

Washington Middle School students Ying-zong Huang and Paul Dexter won first and third place in the competition among individual students. Because they are among the top four individual winners, they will represent the state in the national MathCounts competition, May 9-12, in Washington, D.C.

Northshore Junior High School student Nat Koons and Megan Guichard of Pioneer Middle School in Walla Walla won second and fourth place respectively in the individual competition. They round

out Washington's national-tournament team that Pounder will coach. The top winners in the national competition will receive full college scholarships.

Two more of Pounder's students at Washington Middle School, Michael Bell and Jason Murcko, took ninth and 11th place respectively in the individual category last weekend.

In team competition, Northshore Junior High in Bothell took second, Renton's Nelsen Middle School was third and Seattle's Lakeside School fourth.

The others who were among the top 10 individual winners are: Silas Hilliard, Sacajawea Middle School (Spokane); Kristen Wong, Nelsen Middle School (Renton); John Davis, Centennial Middle School (Spokane); Colin Connolly, Northshore Junior High School; and Brian Lehmann, Lakeside School (Seattle).

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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