Thirty-three schools and 165 students took part in the Southern California State MATHCOUNTS Competition at UC Irvine last Saturday.

The participants of the State MATHCOUNTS Competition are the top finishers of chapter competitions.

Two teams and two individuals from Santa Barbara County participated in the state competition: the La Colina Junior High School team of Adam Dai, Peter Greig, Quinn Hensley and Joshua Wang, which placed first in the Santa Barbara/Ventura Chapter Competition; the second-place Goleta Valley Junior High team of John Grosen, Nicholas Katzer, Ryan O’Gorman and Brian Su; and home-schooled twins Julia and James Deacon of the SB Family School team, who placed second and third individually at the chapter competition.

Both teams did very well, with La Colina placing sixth and Goleta Valley in the top 40 percent.

Individually, Dai won fifth place, tying the top finish by a student from Santa Barbara County in the 28-year history of MATHCOUNTS, according to veteran homeschooler coach Skona Brittain, whose daughter Shelly Brittain won fifth place in 2003. Additionally, Su and Wang placed in the top 25 percent.

“That is fantastic,” La Colina coach Ken Stevens said. “I’m really proud of the whole team.”

MATHCOUNTS is a national middle school mathematics competition. The top four individuals from each state will meet in Washington, D.C., for the national competition in May. The winning team and the top two individual winners will be honored by meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House.

— Guofang Wei represents La Colina Junior High School.