Steamboat ‘math-eletes’ rank 6th in Colorado, Shane Lambert makes nationals | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat ‘math-eletes’ rank 6th in Colorado, Shane Lambert makes nationals

From left are Steamboat Springs Middle School math team members Shane Lambert, Coach Sally Lambert, Grey Barbier (with ball camp on), Jade Henderson, Bryson Lee, Jay Phillips, Suzy Magill, Gabe Gray and Indiana Kretzschmar.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs Middle School team of Suzy Magill, Jade Henderson, Indiana Kretzschmar and Shane Lambert placed sixth in the state Mathcounts state championships March 24 in competition with some of the largest schools in the state at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Campus.

By virtue of his fourth-place finish in the individual competition, Lambert, an eighth-grader, qualified to compete May 12 to 15 at the Mathcounts National Championships in Washington, D.C.

Sally Lambert, who founded the Steamboat team in 2012, and coaches it with middle school math teacher and instructional coach Annie Barbier, said, "It's a huge jump in competition at state."

"We work with kids who love problem solving and finding different ways to look at things," Barbier told the Steamboat Springs Board of Education on March 19, moments before some of the students dazzled board members with a demonstration of their aptitude for math in a mock competition.

Lambert said the math competition on the Front Range is deeply ingrained in many families, with younger siblings aspiring to follow in the tradition of their older sisters and brothers.

"Our kids are all involved in so many other things, math team is a sideline for them," she said. "We do math in our spare time. We've had a girl ranked nationally in swimming, and of course, kids at the state level in skiing and hockey."

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In addition to  Lambert's fourth place in the individual competition, Kretzschmar placed 36th, Henderson came in 42nd and Magill finished 96th.

In spite of their varied interests, Steamboat team members also packed six "math-eletes" into the top eight spots, winning the Western Slope Chapter Competition earlier this year. In that contest, Lambert placed first, Henderson in third, Kretzschmar in fourth, Grey Barbier in fifth, Magill in eighth, Bryson Lee in 14th, Gabe Gray in 15th, Jay Phillips in 16th and Casey Wolf in 21st.

Sixth-grade math and science teacher Bennett Colvin told the school board that the students in Mathcounts are exposed to math problems that rise to the college level.

"The big takeaway from this is these guys are getting exposed to stuff they wouldn't otherwise see until grad school,"  he said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.