Middle school students from five area schools put their math skills to the test on Friday.
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse hosted the 30th Annual MATHCOUNTS Regional Competition. Questions covered fractions, algebra, and geometry. The competition included both individual and team testing rounds.
Students say they prepare extensively for the competition.
"We have practices every Wednesday after school, and we have different problems from last year," said Kenton Newman, eighth grader at Holmen Middle School. "We set up an online thing where there's a whole bunch of practice problems on there so we can practice them."
The goal of MATHCOUNTS goes beyond just competition. It is about showing middle school students the opportunities that are out there.
"We're trying to encourage STEM programs: science, technology, engineering, mathematics. We're trying to get people and children excited in that field, trying to get them exposed to it," said Jarrod Holter, Co-Coordinator for the Western Wisconsin MATHCOUNTS Regional Competition.
"It helped me really build self-esteem knowing that I'm smart enough to be here," said Magei Farley, eighth grader at West Salem Middle School. "It's a good opportunity because you're not going to have this opportunity for much longer."
A group of engineers scored the tests throughout the day.
West Salem Middle School took first place in the team competition. The top three winners individually were Brennan Holst from West Salem Middle School, Elsa Mitchell from West Salem Middle School, and Colton Hoskins from Holmen Middle School.
The winners advance to state competition in Sheboygan in March.