Middle schooler again aces Math Olympiad
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
May 02, 2013 | 2609 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Wentinn Liao, a fifth-grade student at South/West Park School writes two of the ten math problems on Wednesday, May 1 that he answered correctly on his way to a perfect score in the San Joaquin County Math Olympiad on April 27.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Wentinn Liao, a fifth-grade student at South/West Park School writes two of the ten math problems on Wednesday, May 1 that he answered correctly on his way to a perfect score in the San Joaquin County Math Olympiad on April 27. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Mathematical perfection describes 10-year-old Wentinn Liao, who scored a flawless 10 for the second year in a row at the San Joaquin County Math Olympiad on Saturday, April 27.

Competing against 193 other fourth- through sixth-grade students, the South/West Park School fifth-grader was the only student to correctly answer all 10 problems during the individual competition.

“It’s fun to just do it (math), because you get to exercise your brain,” Wentinn said. “I knew I could get a perfect score, but I didn’t expect to be the only one.”

It was a repeat of his win as a fourth-grader, when he tied for first with one of his teammates.

Wentinn said he got his love of math from his father, who taught him multiplication when he was in kindergarten. When Wentinn got bored, his father would give him math puzzles, even during bath-time.

“I like hard math problems,” he said. “There’s quite a few I can do in my head.”

In addition to achieving individual perfection and winning a special ribbon, Wentinn was part of a Monte Vista team took first place overall by answering nine of 10 questions correctly in 30 minutes.

Wentinn joined the Monte Vista math club when coach Dawn Arbogast in 2011 sought interested students from South/West Park School to fill the club’s dwindling ranks.

It was the team’s second time in two years the team has taken first at the county competition.

This year’s team included Wentinn, Monte Vista sixth-grader Alex Klassen and South/West Park fifth-graders Stephen Trieu, Philip Ha and Sataya Kethineri.

Arbogast said the students met for a half hour each Thursday since January to review different types of problems.

“I was thinking this year we would do well,” she said. “Last year, I didn’t know what to expect, and I was amazed.”

Arbogast said Wentinn’s leadership has been instrumental in getting the team into the winner’s circle.

“It’s a good group of kids,” she said. “They worked really hard. Everybody would work on the problems, and he checked them over.”

As this year’s winners, the Monte Vista team received individual medals and a plaque to display at the school, though as officials revealed the correct answers, Wentinn was unsure if the team was going to finish on top, as the margin for error is razor thin.

“We didn’t know,” he said. “You get a perfect score, you get first. But if you miss one, you might not.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
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