Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- If you have trouble putting two and two together, students over at Dent Middle School can certainly give you a hand. The school's MathCounts Team won the state competition Saturday for the fifth year in a row.
"Mainly you just practice a lot and things that you don't understand you try to get help with," 12-year-old Brennan Ravan.
"In the end hard work pays off," said 14- year-old Jenning Chen. "That's pretty much all you need."
Chen, the team's captain, says she gave pep talks to help keep everyone calm on the big day.
"On the day of the competition it's pretty nerve wracking, because you have all of the pressure and we have a title to keep our hands on," she said.
A team of 10 with two alternates was selected from about 70 who tried out for a place on the team.
Anson Bidwell, Fritz Drescher, Paul Dubberly, Isaac Lee, Sunny Gupta, Sanjay Ravindra, Vinita Cheepurupalli, Masa Kansugi, Albert Huang and Jayanth Vemula joined Chen and Raven on the team.
The group successfully competed in a regional competition against schools from Richland and Lexington School Districts, private schools and home school students which earned them a place in the state competition.
The state team included Cheepurupalli, Ravan, Kansugi, Huang and Chen.
Cathy Stinson has coached the team for all of her seven years at Dent Middle. She says skill and a little bit of luck has helped them stay on top.
"Problems are hard, I had to practice a lot and do a lot of preparation for the students and lots of times students know the answer faster than I do," said Stinson.
With talented hard working students, she says it is unavoidable for students to have to take on each other during parts of the competition.
"I think all of them at some point were against someone else from our team so they end up knocking each other out," said Stinson.
Still, despite the ups and downs of competition she is pleased with her team.
"I'm very proud of all of them and I get light headed when they start announcing winners and just proud of all them and all their accomplishments," said Stinson.
Chen and Cheepurupalli placed second and fourth place overall competition respectively. They will head to Washington D.C. in May for nationals along with Stinson who will lead all of South Carolina's representatives as coach of the state winning team.