Math Team Places Third at State Meet

April 7, 2017

The Messalonskee Math Team is a program on the rise, and co-coach Nick Hart has the numbers to support that claim.

Take, for instance, that the Eagles placed third in the state among Class A schools at the recent Maine State Math Meet at the Augusta Civic Center. That is a jump of three spots from their performance a year ago.

Consider, too, that the team scored 300 more points for the season than last year’s squad, going from about 1,000 to 1,300.

Vann Guarnieri and Ethan Pullen, seniors who finished at the top for scoring at the state meet, once more led the way for Messalonskee.

But Mr. Hart said the reason for the overall improvement was the rest of the team. Vann and Ethan, he said, tallied almost exactly the same number of points as a year ago, while their teammates accounted for the 300-point increase, a tribute to Messalonskee’s depth of talent.

“I was actually surprised at how well our kids kept up (at the state meet),” Mr. Hart said, “because when I looked at the rosters of the other teams, they looked deeper than we were.”

Along with Vann and Ethan, the Eagles who competed at the state meet were Brad Garand, Alexis Palleschi, Sarah Martin, Grace Carlson, Sam Haney, Alex Pierce, Martin Guarnieri, and Kieran McCarthy O'Flaherty. Robin McCarthy O’Flaherty, Caitlyn Andrews, and Lillie Fortier provided additional quality depth during the regular season.

Mr. Hart said another reason for the team’s success is that he and his wife, co-coach and fellow Messalonskee math teacher Stacy Hart, complement each other so well in terms of their coaching roles.

“I think it is just because he is all business all the time,” Mrs. Hart said, “whereas I’m more interested in forming those bonds with the kids. I mean I’m just as interested in the math, but Nick is just more focused on the math.”

For the team as a whole, the season is finished until next fall. But for Vann and Ethan the problem solving continues for the second straight year. Both will travel with Mr. Hart to Penn State University in Pennsylvania in June to compete in one of the four regional sites that comprise the national math championships.

Mrs. Hart won’t be going to Pennsylvania, but for her the state meet experience proved to be the perfect ending to the season. “The fact that everyone did what was expected of them,” she said, “makes it so worth it.”