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APSU team wins regional Math Jeopardy competition

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – A team from Austin Peay State University’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics recently won the Math Jeopardy Championship at a competition held during the 2017 Southeastern Section meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The APSU team defeated 26 other teams from colleges and universities in the Southeast.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – A team from Austin Peay State University’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics recently won the Math Jeopardy Championship at a competition held during the 2017 Southeastern Section meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The APSU team defeated 26 other teams from colleges and universities in the Southeast.

Austin Peay fielded two teams, mentored by Dr. Nicholas Kirby, assistant professor of mathematics, and Dr. Ben Ntatin, professor of mathematics. One team (Team A) consisted of students Travis Collard, Scott Howard, Kindyl King and Emily Stark, and the other team (Team B) consisted of students Jessica Boettner, Jonathan Bunton, Nathan Nickelson and Jeremiah Simmons.

The contest featured a first-round, a semi-final round and a final round, with APSU’s Team A winning outright. In the first round, by rule, APSU’s two teams faced each other. Both Team A and a team from Georgia College dominated the first-round competition, which earned Georgia College a wild card spot in the semi-finals. Unfortunately, this meant that APSU’s Team B was eliminated.

Hours later, Team A convincingly won a semifinal competition, and in the final round, APSU faced teams from Armstrong State University, Elon University and Georgia College. After falling behind early in the final round, APSU’s team pulled ahead of Georgia College by a mere 100 points going into the final jeopardy question. A smart bet allowed the APSU team to win by a single point, despite each of the participating teams answering the final jeopardy question correctly.

“With Scott Howard as the team captain, Austin Peay established itself early on as the team to beat,” Kirby said. “I am most proud of how our students chose to spend part of their spring break to represent the exciting things happening in the math department.”

This win follows years of high achievement at the competition, with a first-place finish in 2015 and second-place finishes in 2016 and 2014. 

The MAA’s Southeastern Section meeting was held March 16-18 in Macon, Georgia, on the campus of Mercer University. First-year mathematics major Kindyl King, sophomore mathematics major Katherine Kreuser and junior double major in mathematics and computer science Nathan Nickelson gave undergraduate research presentations. Dr. Samuel Jator, professor and chair of the Mathematics and Statistics Department, mentored these students. Dr. Brad Fox, assistant professor of mathematics, gave a research talk at the conference. At this year’s meeting, Dr. Ntatin was elected to serve the MAA-SE Section in the capacity of Tennessee state director for a three-year term.

For more information, contact the APSU Department of Mathematics and Statistics at 931-221-7833.