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RIVERSIDE (Feb. 11, 2014)—MATHCOUNTS, a competitive mathematics program held at California Baptist University on Feb. 8, attracted 129 middle school students from 19 area schools.

The top three individual winners were Alair Zhao of Chino, a student at Oxford Preparatory Academy; Audrey Yao and Angela Xu, both from Riverside's Frank A. Miller Middle School. In addition, teams from three area schools will move on to the state competition: Frank A. Middle School, Beattie Middle School of Highland and Riverside STEM Academy.

"MATHCOUNTS is a national competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement," explained Dr. Ziliang Zhou, chapter competition coordinator and chair of CBU's mechanical engineering program. "Participants advance through school, chapter and state competitions until the final students are selected from 57 states and territories to advance to the national competition held each May."

CBU's College of Engineering (COE) has hosted the Riverside/San Bernardino chapter competition since 2009. COE students volunteer their time during the event to serve as competition graders and proctors. Top performers receive a $10,000 scholarship ($2,500 per year) if they enroll in the CBU engineering program as a full-time student in the future. 

The competition included four rounds: the spirit round consisted of 30 problems that could only be completed by the most capable students within the time limit; the target round featured multi-step problems to engage students in mathematical reasoning and problem-solving processes; the team round included 10 problems that team members worked together to solve; and the countdown round was a fast-paced, oral competition for individuals with the highest scores from the spirit and target rounds. Calculators were only permitted in the target and team rounds.

The Southern California state competition will be held March 15 at the University of California Irvine. The 2014 Raytheon national competition will take place in Orlando, Fla. on May 9.