Categorized | Feature

Freshman math prodigy takes it to the mat

Brian Harward staff writer

He was the seventh grader in Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry (AAT), the eighth grader in Math Analysis Honors, and now, the ninth grader in AP Calculus BC.

Freshman Jacob Lee is running out of math classes to take. However, this is not a new kind of problem for Lee, who began taking classes at the high school before ninth grade.

“All of the math classes in middle school were pretty boring, so I skipped around the classes. After I took algebra in sixth grade, there was nothing else for me to take, so I went to AAT,” Lee said.

But in taking challenging classes with upperclassmen, there was an inherent pressure beating down on Lee, who sometimes felt out of place in the high school setting.

“Being in classes with older kids was really pressuring, because you feel like you have to be more mature in the class instead of acting like a typical middle schooler,” Lee said.

Now in his first year of high school, Lee took an interest in athletics, eventually joining the wrestling team.

“I actually joined [wrestling] because of [freshman] Ben [Maizes]. He wanted to do the team with me, and I’ve grown attached to the sport; it’s really fun,” Lee said.

Captain Daniel Heller, who has worked with Lee for the past couple months, has noticed the improvement and hard work that Lee has shown so far.

“Jacob Lee is a kid who always pushes himself, trying to break through his limits and that’s what I respect so much about him,” Heller said.

Heller sees the academic prowess of Lee in how he wrestles. Rather than simply repeating the moves that he is shown, he strives to understand the moves, and to see the underlying reasons and techniques that go into them.

“You can see [his academic ability] in how he tries to learn the wrestling moves, in how he tries to understand and break down the moves,” Heller said.

For Lee, the techniques of wrestling share many similarities with academics. He sees, and pays extra attention to, the mental side of the game.

“Wrestling requires a lot of brainpower, in wrestling you can’t just win with brute force, so you have to think a lot about what you’re doing,” Lee said.

In his first year of wrestling, Lee hopes to improve and be as successful in the sport he loves as he is in mathematics.

“I want to get overall better technique,” Lee said. “I hope to win some matches against the older kids I face.”

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