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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Feb. 9, 2015) – MATHCOUNTS, a competitive mathematics program, attracted more than 150 middle school students to the California Baptist University campus Feb. 7.

MATHCOUNTS is an organization dedicated to promoting engineering and mathematics at the middle school level. The students came from 26 middle schools in the Riverside/San Bernardino region.

The Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering has hosted the competition since 2009. About 25 engineering students served as judges during this year's event.

The top ranked individuals were Alair Zhao of Oxford Preparatory Academy in Chino, Richard Hu of Beattie Middle School in Highland and Samuel Xu of Frank Augustus Miller Middle School in Riverside.

In the team competition, the top four teams advanced to the state competition: Riverside's Amelia Earhart Middle School, Beattie Middle School, Frank Augustus Miller Middle School, and the No. 1 team, Riverside STEM Academy.

"We appreciate CBU allowing us to be here. It is very generous of them to provide this," said Rosalee Hrubic, coach of the Riverside STEM Academy team.

CBU's College of Engineering awards $10,000 scholarships ($2,500 per year) to the top performers if they enroll in the CBU engineering program as a full-time student in the future.

The competition consisted of four rounds: the sprint round has 30 problems that students have 40 minutes to complete; the target round featured eight questions, distributed a pair at a time and students have six minutes to compete each pair; 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 sprint and target rounds.

"I feel so proud. This is my first year in MATHCOUNTS, and I am going to state. I hope that I can get to nationals," said Major Yang of Riverside STEM Academy, a top 16 finalist.

In addition to judging, the CBU volunteers also performed a robotics showcase in which participants were able to interact with a human-like robot and a 3-D printer display.

The state competition will be held at the University of California, Irvine on March 14.