December 22, 2016

FMU Pee Dee Regional Math Tournament celebrates 40th contest

FMU Pee Dee Regional Math Tournament celebrates 40th contest

For the past 37 years, the equation Francis Marion + the Pee Dee’s top math students has always equaled the Pee Dee Regional High School Mathematics Tournament.

The tournament, sponsored and presented the FMU Department of Mathematics, has grown from a small affair, to something high school students train for far in advance.

The tournament’s 40th iteration took place on Tuesday, Dec. 6 in the McNair Science Facility.

The Pee Dee Regional High School Mathematics Tournament – sponsored by Francis Marion University, Mu Alpha Theta, and the Pee Dee Education Center – consists of two portions: a written competition, and a stage competition.

As one of the architects of the tournament, mathematics professor Dr. George E. Schnibben, Jr. says the pitting of the region’s best high school mathletes against one another is a great recruiting tool for the university.

“We get probably 350 high school students on campus and they get a chance to look at us, and they might use this opportunity to select Francis Marion as the college that they want to attend,” Schnibben says. “A lot of students don’t know what to expect when they come on the campus of a university. I think it’s a pretty friendly environment. It’s a great opportunity for students to speak with the professors.”

Twenty-one schools and approximately 360 students from throughout the Pee Dee will be competing in this year’s tournament.

For Schnibben and the rest of the mathematics department, those numbers are important, indicating not just the popularity of participating in the tournament, but the idea that of mathematics as a necessary skill for many career paths.

“It means that mathematics is an important subject for them,” he says. “They see the importance of it and they know they have to have it for their university education and they’re preparing for it.”

Over the years, the tournament has grown, both on the side of the university, and in the amount of focused placed on winning by the participants.

The winners of the high school division competitions were: Division I – Marion High School, runner up – Carvers Bay High School; Division II – Scholars Academy, runner up – Wilson High School; Division III – Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School, runner up – The King’s Academy.

The winners of the written portion were as follows: First place – Eric Zhang, Scholars Academy; Second place – Neil Dey, Wilson High School; Third place – Dashiell Stevanovich, Scholars Academy; honorable mention – Brad Farrell, Scholars Academy; Etash Kumar Guha, Wilson High School; Henry Hein, Scholars Academy; Noah Johnson, Scholars Academy; Grant King, Scholars Academy; Ruijia Li, Wilson High School; Alex Tew, Scholars Academy; Jason Zhang, Scholars Academy and Zachary Zhao, Wilson High School.

The following schools participated in this year’s tournament: Carvers Bay High School, Central High School (of Pageland), Creek Bridge High School, Green Sea Floyd High School, Hannah-Pamplico High School, Johnsonville High School, Lee Central High School, Marion High School, Mullins High School, Academy for the Arts Science, and Technology, Carolina Forest High School, Early College High School, Georgetown High School, Hartsville High School, Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology, Scholars Academy, South Florence High School, West Florence High School, Wilson High School, The King’s Academy and Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School.

For more information on the 40th Pee Dee Regional High School Mathematics Tournament, visit