MSMS places second at collegiate math tournament


Courtesy of Philip Benge

Team members (from left to right) Vayd Ramkumar, Jackson Flowers and Dennis Lee placed second among colleges and university teams at the competition.

Luke Bowles, Staff Writer

The MSMS math team placed second at the Louisiana/Mississippi sectional competition for the Mathematical Association of America, beating out multiple colleges including Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University and Millsaps College. 

The competition took place this previous Friday, Feb. 28, and lasted three hours. The team, sponsored by math instructor Dr. Philip Benge, consisted of seniors Vayd Ramkumar, Dennis Lee, Rachel Zheng and junior Jackson Flowers. However, due to an illness, Zheng could not attend the competition, resulting in the team competing short one person. Ramkumar felt that her absence added an additional hurdle for the group. 

“There were five calculus problems that weren’t necessarily hard, just time consuming, and we were competing against college teams of four math majors,” Ramkumar said. “Of course we were disadvantaged.”

Although the team placed second, Flowers stated they did very little studying.

“We didn’t formally study for it, just crammed a lot on the bus,” Flowers said. 

Despite these disadvantages, Benge was still proud of the team’s success.

“I think that this [the challenges] only made the success of our team even more commendable,” Benge said. “I am delighted with our second-place showing, and I am thrilled to be a part of helping them achieve their goals. 

Flowers felt that Benge, an alumnus of Louisiana State University, felt excited after the results were released.

“I could tell it was really a big thing for Dr. Benge when we beat out LSU,” Flowers said.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette won the previous section of the competition the day before, prompting Ramkumar to expect a challenge. However, Ramkumar saw the competition as a net positive for the team when they won second place. 

“Honestly, I was like, ‘Yeah, seems about right,’” Ramkumar said. “It was pretty much exactly what I expected. Considering our handicap, I’m really proud of the three of us.” 

All four team members are also members of Mu Alpha Theta, an MSMS math club also sponsored by Benge, and will compete in the state competition on Apr. 19.