BILLINGS – The best middle school math teams across the area converged on Billings for a numbers battle.

The Billings regional MathCounts competition featured 118 students from 12 schools, at MSU Billings Petro Theater on Friday.

MathCounts works to motivate students in math and push them toward careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM.

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About 85 percent of the kids in this competition will go into those fields, according to state MathCounts coordinator Dan Munson.

MatchCounts involved math coaching and competition, and students are known as Mathletes.

The Mathletes go through written tests and a fast-paced verbal matchup that may include questions in probability, statistics, linear algebra and polynomials.

MathCounts also helps students in other subjects.

“MathCounts is a great way just to do problem solving,” Munson said. “And it doesn’t have to be just math. There’s a lot of story problems in there that brings real-life situations. How do you figure out how to load your van the right way with all your luggage? How do you figure out the fastest way to get from point A to point B? So there’s a lot of practical applications.”

The top four teams advance to the state competition on March 19 at Montana Tech in Butte.

Those four are Lewis & Clark Middle School, Eileen John Middle School in Lockwood, Castle Rock Middle School and Ben Steele Middle School.

Aiden Zeiler of Lewis & Clark won the individual competition.

Zach Cromwell from Castle Rock came in second followed by Cadien Archer from Lewis & Clark Mitchell Fogelsong from Ben Steele and Jonas Zeiler from Lewis & Clark.

The top four individuals not on a team also advanced.

Those include Fogelsong, Hayden Trost of Ben Steele, Angelina Boyer of Castle Rock and McKenna Mader of Will James Middle School.

Reporting by David Jay for MTN News