Soccer players help Oakland Mills add up

Top-ranked boys lend assist in countywide math meet

October 21, 1999|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

The No. 1-ranked Oakland Mills boys soccer team isn't just making noise on the field this season.

Seven Scorpions, recruited by math team coach John Brown, added an unusual twist to the Oct. 13 countywide math meet held in the Hammond High cafeteria.

While other math teams warmed up on their calculators in preparation for the meet, Oakland Mills made its grand entrance listening to rap music on the boom box of soccer manager and math team captain Regi Altima.

Just before the meet began, they formed a team huddle and chanted "Oakland Mills, Oakland Mills."

"The rest of the county was shocked. They had never seen anything like this," Brown said. "It was all in good fun."

The meet's format consisted of three rounds of individuals answering two questions in 10 minutes, with the top five scores from each team counting.

A group round followed, in which teams answered five questions in 15 minutes.

During the second round, cookies and milk were served. As hungry athletes, the Scorpions scarfed up mounds of cookies and cartons of milk. Soccer sweeper back Glenn Hayman could be seen filling his pockets with extra cookies.

When the dust had settled, Oakland Mills, which finished in last place a month ago with just five team members, had won the B division for the first time in three years.

A team consisting of five soccer players had answered all five questions of the second round correctly.

"It's amazing because our team has been pretty bad for a few years and was bottom of the barrel last year," Brown said.

"Traditionally, the math team doesn't have athletes on it and doesn't have much spirit," Altima said. "Now we're a spirited bunch."

Midfielder Brian Grund, whose long throw-ins have distinguished him on the soccer field, won Oakland Mills Athlete of the Month honors by answering six of six questions correctly.

"We haven't had anyone do that in four years," Brown said.

"But it was a great team effort, not one or two people. Everyone was pumped," said Altima who correctly answered five of six.

Soccer players who contributed included: Grund, Hayman, Jeremy Catlin, Trevor Shea, Steve Blakely, Greg Mazur and Gordon Rusinko.

"We took the math team from worst to first in our spare time," said Catlin, who has a 3.95 GPA.

The bus ride back was a continual chant of Oakland Mills, Oakland Mills.

Soccer coach Don Shea delayed practice until 4: 15 p.m. that day so his players could show off their math wizardry.

Shea said: "I think they're more excited about winning the math competition than about beating Wilde Lake in soccer."

And Oakland Mills principal Marshall Peterson was equally excited. "This [math victory] was the highlight of my week," he said.

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