BYU students shine at the Intermountain Math Competition


BYU students took the top six spots in the annual Intermountain Math Competition earlier this month.

The Intermountain Math Competition is an undergraduate math competition for schools in the region to compete and have fun with mathematics. Some of the schools that participated included University of Nevada, University of Utah, Boise State, Idaho State and BYU. It is a three-hour exam with seven problems that requires problem-solving skills and math knowledge. For most, three hours is not enough.

Sam Dittmer, a junior from Zionsville, Ind. took first place by not only completing all seven problems but answering them all correctly.

“Most people don’t finish all the problems,” Dittmer said. “There were several people who got between five to six of the problems.”

Dittmer went to many study sessions in preparation for the contest, and likened it to athletes needing to practice. He also said that math requires creativity.

“Math takes a lot more creativity than people think,” Dittmer said. “A lot of math problems deal with piecing together a lot of different concepts from the different math topics creatively and making sure it makes sense logically.”

YiFeng Xu, a freshman from Qingdao, China, majoring in math, participated his first time this year in the Intermountain Math Competition and went away with a tie for second place. Xu studied hard for the contest and his efforts paid off. He said he learned that time management was crucial in the three-hour test.

“I spent my time on each problem almost perfectly,” Xu said. “I didn’t waste too much time on a problem I got stuck on initially, but instead came back to it later.”

Hiram Golze, a senior from Salt Lake City majoring in math, was not surprised with the results because of all the study sessions the group had, which most agreed was the best way to prepare for the competition.

“As far as taking the top six places, we all expected that,” Golze said.

With the top six places going to BYU students, Golze said it highlights the BYU math program.

“It shows where BYU’s math program is in comparison to the other programs in the region,” Golze said.

With a successful win from the BYU students, the math program continues to shine forth its light.

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