Clearfield Teen’s Math Skills Take Her To National Competition

Apr 23, 2019, 6:51 PM | Updated: 6:58 pm

CLEARFIELD, Utah — Katrina Michael says math is best enjoyed when you just do it for fun. The 14-year-old home-schooled math whiz says she’s always loved numbers.

“It’s probably because it’s pretty straightforward,” Michael explained. “There’s no… exceptions. Whereas, like if you’re doing English, there’s all these rules, and then the exceptions to the rules.”

On May 1st, Michael will take her math skills on a national competition level at the annual National Numbers Knockout, or N2K competition.

The event is held aboard a cruise ship, in the Caribbean. But this prestige is nothing new to the teenager. This will be her third chance at the national title.

“I’ve gotten third, both past years,” Michael said. “I’m aiming for first this year.”

While Katrina Michael is part of a home-schooling program, through the Christian-focused group, Classical Conversations, the competition is open to various public and private school students nationwide.

Katrina Michael, at last year’s N2K competition Katrina Michael, at last year’s N2K competition Katrina Michael Katrina Michael doing N2K math problems

Competitors are given a sheet of paper with thirty-six numbers and three random numbers that they use to reach each of the other 36, through any mathematics formula they can come up with.

“Ever since she was like a little girl, she just loved numbers,” Cassie Michael, Katrina’s mother said. “She zoomed through all of her math subjects.”

Like many teenagers, however, Katrina is not sure what she wants to do when she grows up.

“I like politics, stuff like that,” Katrina said. “I don’t think I’d really want a job that involves math. Because I guess once math becomes work, it’s just not as fun.”

The grand prize at the N2K competition is $10,000. Katrina says there’s only one thing she can think of to do with that for now.

“Save it,” Katrina said, laughing. “I don’t know what else I would do with it.”

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Clearfield Teen’s Math Skills Take Her To National Competition