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Mathletes and Academic Competition look to playoffs

The clubs give a preview into what is ahead in their seasons.

The Mathletes and Academic Competition programs at Malvern are both on pace to compete in their playoffs.

Mr. Tom Pannulla, moderator of Mathletes, said that the team is in position to be competing in championships.

“There are Catholic School Championships and Archdiocese Championships, and so the top schools move on from there.” Pannulla said. “There are also individual championships as well, you make the competitions as an individual so you can score points every competition and accumulate the points and move on.”

“We definitely get interest at the Activities Fair but not really as much as word of mouth or me talking about mathletes in my classes trying to get people excited about it.”

-Mr. Tom Pannulla

“I suppose they could seed you for the competition but I don’t see how it would matter really. It wouldn’t really matter because the teams just take the same test so it is not really an advantage being the higher seed as it’s all really the same test,” Pannulla said.

Pannulla is pleased by the progress of the team and the steps they have taken forward as a group this season.

“I would say we are definitely having a good season, better than last year which is great,” Pannulla said. “It’s a positive to see that growth happen. We also have a lot of seniors that have been on the team for a while, so it’s cool to have leaders and people on the team that step up and get things going.”

This season is in a line of many years of success by the program throughout its history at the school, according to Mr. Pannulla.

“Dr. Oechsle was head of the program for many years before me but from what I heard the Mathletes program was very successful under him,” Pannulla said.

Pannulla said that Mathletes is popular throughout the student body as well.

“We get a lot of people to join the team or sign up through word of mouth and guys who enjoyed being on the team in the past passing it on. We definitely get interest at the Activities Fair but not really as much as word of mouth or me talking about mathletes in my classes trying to get people excited about it,” Pannulla said.

Although the seniors are on their way out, Pannulla has faith in his team and its future.

“There are a bunch of seniors that are leaving, which is going to hurt next year. But, we have a good group of younger students that are ready to take the next step,” Mr. Pannulla said.

Mathletes is also split up into three separate groups for competitions.

“There are about 15 students on the team who come by, but you can only put five people on a team, so we put five on an A team, five on a B team, and the rest on a C team. So then they are all scored individually,” Pannulla said. “The A team is made up of three seniors: Mark Nolan, Adam Yablonski, Zach DeStefano, and the two juniors: Jack Magargee and Rohan Jhunjhunwala. So next year, those two will definitely be leaders on the team next year and there are a couple younger students can do very well next year as well.”

Mr. Jason Sammartino and Mrs. Vernice Mulcahy, heads of Academic Competition, are ready to compete and win as well.

“Last year they made it to the seeded round for the finals, so anyone could really win, but they lost by one question and didn’t make it to the 2nd round,” Mulcahy said. “So hopefully, we can make it to the second round and move on from there.”

The Academic Competition team at this point in the season is around where they were last year.

“We tell our students on the team to actually train by playing Trivia Crack. It helps them get a feel of the questions, as they ask general knowledge questions on the app and in the competitions.”

-Mrs. Vernice Mulcahy

“I think we are around the ninth or tenth seed this year, which is roughly around where we were last year or maybe even a bit higher,” Mulcahy said. “For Varsity we were ranked kind of towards the middle, whereas the JV was towards the bottom, but it’s anyone’s game,” Sammartino said. “Any points we gained in the regular season don’t matter. Now we all made the playoffs and it’s anyone’s victory to take home now.”

Academic Competition has a JV and a Varsity team, like many other programs at Malvern.

“The Varsity team is made up of upper classmen mostly, like the juniors and seniors, but for the JV we have a low number of freshman on the team,” Mulcahy said.

Sammartino said that playoffs are coming in February at the Chester County Intermediate Unit. “All these schools will be there competing in a tournament kind [of] thing, and if we win our first match up we will compete again later in the same day in the next round of the playoffs,” he said.

The team trains and practices using games on their phones from the app store.

“We tell our students on the team to actually train by playing Trivia Crack. It helps them get a feel of the questions, as they ask general knowledge questions on the app and in the competitions,” Mulcahy said.

The Academic Competition Team is sticking to its routine this year, rather than changing from past years.

“Mrs. Mulcahy and I are new as moderators this year, but from talking to past moderators of the program it seems like pretty much we are sticking to the normal routine of the club,” Sammartino said.

According to the moderators, the fun atmosphere of the club is important to the team.

“I think we’re having a good year and the guys are having fun, which is important. We get to laugh and joke around with each other which is great,” Sammartino said. “Even when we lose, guys still have the smiles on their faces, which is what Mrs. Mulcahy and I are really looking for in the team.”

About Luke McClatchy

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Luke McClatchy has been on the Blackfriar Chronicle for one year. He is involved with Malvern’s Rugby Team as well and a pretty cool dude.

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