Mathematically Gifted: 9-year-old advances to MathCounts state competition


Coakley Middle School’s Ethan “Timmy” Mowers is 9 years old, has skipped two grades, is taking ninth-grade Algebra I, and has just advanced to the MathCounts state competition.

The exceptionally young sixth-grader competed with more than 100 middle school students from across the Rio Grande Valley in a MathCounts contest held at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Edinburg Campus on Friday, Feb. 9.

“I’ve never had anybody that young go before,” said Coakley UIL coach Mark Oelerich. “I’ve had students advance to state quite a few times, but usually they are eighth graders.”

Timmy will compete in the state contest in Austin on March 23-24 and will have the opportunity to advance to the national competition.

“I’m looking forward to going to Austin,” he said. “To prepare, I’ve been doing warm-up math problems with Mr. Oelerich every day after school.”

Next school year Timmy will have completed the highest math class Coakley has to offer.

When he is not busy working with numbers, Timmy is learning how to play the saxophone for the school band, and he continues to sharpen his photography skills by capturing images of the local wildlife.

Designed to excite and challenge middle school students, the MathCounts program offers four levels of competition featuring both a rigorous written competition and a fast-paced oral competition. This national program provides students the opportunity to compete in live, in-person contests against and alongside their peers.

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