For the first time in the 32-year history of the Colorado Mathematical Olympiad at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, a middle school girl won a first-place prize.
Sara Gao, an eighth grader from Campus Middle School in Englewood was one of four first prize winners in the competition held recently at UCCS.
Not only was she the first middle schooler to take the top award, but she also was the first female student.
Others were: Hongyl Chen, a ninth grader at Altona Middle School in Longmont; Rodion Kosmin, a senior from Ukraine attending Castle View High in Castle Rock; and Avi Swartz, a 10th grade student at Cherry Creek High in Englewood.
Students solved five problems in four hours in essay-type answers.
Two local students placed as well. William Shand, an 11th grader at Discovery Canyon Campus won a second prize, and Amy Wang, a 10th grader at Pine Creek High, won a third prize.
First prize winners receive a gold medal, a $500 scholarship to any accredited university in the U.S., a UCCS Chancellor's Scholarship and other prizes.
A total of 328 middle and high school students from throughout the state competed.