It’s a ‘Day at the Beach,’ mathematically speaking, for Uni and Woodbridge high schools

Six-member teams from University and Woodbridge high schools won second place in their respective divisions Saturday at a day-long mathematics festival hosted by Cal State Long Beach’s math department.

Marking its 14th year, Math Day at the Beach was established to promote camaraderie and to encourage area high schoolers to have fun with math. But make no mistake: Participants also engage in some pretty rigorous problem-solving at this event.

In fact, the main event is a one-hour, multiple-question exam that’s designed by CSULB’s mathematics faculty to emphasize creative-thinking over computational skill. According to the website, questions are selected from algebra, geometry, trigonometry, number theory, something called “combinatorics,” and probability and statistics. There’s also a team round as well as a verbal “Face-Off” event that determines individual winners.

Uni’s  team, consisting of Andrew Ma, Vinson Luo, David Zheng, James Kang, Yelena Mandelshtam and Heesoo Kim, took second place in the top division out of nearly 40 teams from Orange and Los Angeles counties, with Vinson finishing second individually. The Woodbridge team of Daniel Sun, Christina Lin, Kevin Li, Linus Chen, Jun Kim and Jaeho Kim, finished in second place in Division B.

Congrats to both squads. But seriously, what’s combinatorics?