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KNOXVILLE — Ten of the state’s best student mathematicians calculated their way to scholarships in the annual Tennessee Mathematics Contest on Thursday at the University of Tennessee.

The UT math department, sponsor of the contest, said some 650 students competed for the 10 top prizes — four-year UT tuition scholarships and an invitation to join the university’s honors program.

“We’ve seen a 30 percent growth in entrants from last year,” said Dr. John Conway, head of the math department. “We’re pleased that the state’s schools are taking advantage of this opportunity to increase their students’ interest in mathematics.”

Conway said the day’s activities started at Stokely Athletics Center with a first-round exam in the morning for all competitors. The afternoon included a second exam for the semifinalists and a competition for team honors in a scholars’ bowl setting. The winners were announced at 4 p.m. in the Clarence Brown Theatre.

In the team competition, Conway said, first place overall went to Cookeville High School and second place overall went to Oak Ridge High School. Amongst the small schools, the first place was Portland High School and the second place was Hixson High School.

In the individual competition, students winning scholarships included:
— Andrew Brown, Hendersonville High School
— Linda Brzuchalski, Sullivan South High School
— Christopher Burke, Hendersonville High School
— Derek Christopher, Hendersonville High School
— Russell Dunlap, Hendersonville High School
— Kevin Giller, Dobyns-Bennett High School
— Wei-Han “Bobby” Liu, Cookeville High School
— David Parks, Sequoia High School
— Britni Ratliff, Hendersonville High School
— John Shanks, Knoxville West High School

“We’re trying to foster an appreciation for the importance of mathematics,” Conway said. “We also want to introduce the state’s best students to what UT offers them academically.”

Forty-eight teams from as far away as Memphis and the Tri-Cities competed. Other high schools sent only individual competitors.

In 1999, the inaugural year for the contest, 500 students took part in the day’s activities. Knoxville’s Farragut High School took home five of the top 10 individual prizes. Dobyns-Bennett and Bartlett high schools won team honors for large schools, and Cleveland and Powell high schools won for small schools from among 32 competitors overall.

Conway said travel scholarships for distant high schools are being provided by Casio Inc., which makes calculators and pocket computers, and by a Knoxville couple, Ashvin and Tara Patel.

More information is available at http://www.math.utk.edu/TMC/.