Bennet Eld is 15 years old, and one of the youngest sophomores in Buffalo High School. Despite his carefree attitude and friendly persona, he is dedicated to his school work, with one subject in particular: Math. Throughout middle school, Bennet participated in Math Counts and made it to state every year. His hard work paid off when he qualified for the Minnesota All-State Math Team, which only accepts 60 students from the whole state.
Based on his scores from Math Team, a BHS extracurricular activity, Bennet was invited to tryouts for the MN All-State Math Team. He was the only person from Math Team that qualified for these tryouts. “His natural skills for doing complex formulas in his head is really something that constantly surprised me,” said Bennet’s mom, Heather Eld. After answering 10 graded questions, Bennet learned that he had made the team. “The experience was pretty cool,” he said, “I was surprised I made it, as there’s a lot of really good kids in the state.”
In preparation for the American Regions Mathematics League (ARML) competition, Bennet has to practice with his team. There are 4 teams of 15 people that participate from Minnesota. “It isn’t official, but we’ve figured out that the teams are ranked, best to worst, gold, maroon, white, blue,” he recalled. This was based on the observed skill level of each team, and the order the teams were shown at the first meeting. Bennet is on the white team, and overall is pretty happy with his teammates. “My team is really nice, and also really smart,” he said.
Practices are located in Minneapolis at Augsburg College. “I think the person most affected by this besides me is my brother because he has to go on a two-hour car ride for something he doesn’t even participate in,” said Bennet, “because my mom won’t let him stay home alone.” Besides official practices, Bennet will also be practicing for the competition with problem sheets he does at home.“I’m happy he has an avenue that he can pursue that he has such talent and drive in,” said Heather Eld.
On June 2nd Bennet, along with over 2,000 other students, will be competing at four locations nationwide. He will be competing at the University of Iowa, and will participate in a team round, where the entire team has 20 minutes to solve 10 problems, a power question round, an individual round, and a relay round, where one team member solves a problem and passes the solution to the next team member, who plugs that answer into their question, and so on. “I hope to do well,” said Bennet, “I think there is a slim chance of winning, but I will try my best.”