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posted Jan 31, 2020, 12:09 PM by Christine Guerette

On Saturday January 25, 2020, Gabe Austin represented Troy Howard Middle School at the Alpha Chapter Regional MATHCOUNTS competition held at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.  There were 49 Mathletes from 9 middle schools competing in this event. 

This all day competition has three different written rounds including individual and team events. The top 10 students from the written rounds faced off, one on one, on stage in the Countdown round to determine the overall winner. Students, parents, and teachers watched as the contestants raced to complete complicated math problems projected onto the screen. 

Gabe Austin took first place overall for the written rounds, and dropped to second overall after the rigorous and exciting Countdown round. This earned Gabe a place at the Maine state meet on Saturday March 14, 2020 at Kennebec Valley Community College. This is the second time in the last 15 years that THMS has had a student progress to states. (Forest Beck placed in the top 10 in 2007.) The top four participants from the State meet will receive an all expense paid trip to the Nationals in Orlando, Florida.

Since 3rd grade, Gabe has participated in the Extended Learning Program’s Mathematic classes and is currently taking both high school level Honors Geometry and Algebra 2 with ELP mathematics teacher Jean Lawliss at THMS. Belfast community volunteer and retired engineer David Sprague helped coach Gabe for the MATHCOUNTS meet. 

The MATHCOUNTS Foundation is a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization that reaches students in grades 6-8 in all US states and territories with 3 extracurricular math programs. More than a quarter million students participate in their programs or use their resources each year. For more information on MATHCOUNTS see


How would you do at a MATHCOUNTS Meet? Try these sample problems below (calculators not allowed):

  1. How much more than two-thirds of 25% of 36 is 50% of one-fourth of 64?

  1. Andrew and Lindsey are seated at a round table with four other people. If everyone is randomly seated, what is the probability that Andrew and Lindsey are seated next to each other? Express your answer as a common fraction.


  1. There are 270 bats living in a cave on the first day of June. Every day in June, some number of bats arrive to join the bats already there. At the end of June 30, there are 1000 bats in the cave. On average, how many bats arrived each day in June? Express your answer as a decimal to the nearest tenth. (Calculator allowed)

Answers: 1) 2,    2) 2 / 5   3) 24.3 bats