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A top-10 finish for Lake Middle Schooler in state math competition

Minkai Li finished eighth out of 135 competitors at the Mathcounts state meet earlier this month. Li, 13, is part of the Lake Middle School math team, which also includes Nikhil Jain, Christina Li and Sarah Zhang. Lake was one of 29 schools whose teams qualified to compete in the event, which took place March 10 and 11 at the Crowne Plaza Conference Center in Plymouth. (Bulletin photo by William Loeffler)

Woodbury

Minkai Li finished eighth out of 135 competitors at the Mathcounts state meet earlier this month. Li, 13, also helped deliver a sixth-place finish by the Lake Middle School math team, which also includes Nikhil Jain, Christina Li and Sarah Zhang.

"Most of the stuff is more problem solving rather than using complicated formulas," the Lake seventh grader said.

The competition took place March 10-11 at the Crowne Plaza Conference Center in Plymouth. Lake was one of 29 schools whose teams qualified to compete at the state level by winning school and local competitions.

During the Sprint Round, Li had to complete 30 math problems in 40 minutes. For the Target Round, he was given four pairs of problems and had six minutes to complete each pair.

He supplements his math at Lake with a weekly precalculus class the University of Minnesota Talented Youth Program (UMTYMP).

"That's a lot harder than a math course you take in school," he said. "It's pretty accelerated."

Li is studying for the American Mathematics Competition (AMC), which is used to help determine the United States team for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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