Mathlete of the Issue: Ana Pranger

Olivia Baker Math is, indeed, a sport. (Well, not one that I’m very good at personally, per se, but it certainly feels like a sport.) Compared to Latin’s soccer or basketball players, however,  mathletes get significantly less recognition for their hard work. But The Forum is turning the tables: mathleticism is now of the essence. And for our first spotlighted mathlete, we’ve chosen none other than junior Ana Pranger— all-star mathlete. For many— probably most of us—math doesn’t come too easy. Algebra, Geometry, Calculus… the list of these strange notions can seemingly go on forever, and we find ourselves in a perpetual struggle to merely comprehend them. Or, at least, get above a D. This isn’t the case for Pranger. “I’ve always liked math” she said on the topic. “It’s always a puzzle. Finding the right method and answer is a challenge that you don’t really find in other subjects.” Despite her acclaim, Pranger has only been on the team for over a year. The state team was short of people last year, and, recognizing her capabilities, she was “roped in” by her friends. “I wanted to try it out, learn something new and figure out how to do some fun math, so I joined” Pranger said. She’s been kicking butt ever since. And as for the team dynamic, she fits right in. “Latin is a great place, so I don’t really have many issues being on the team or being a girl on the team.” But being on a team can always come with complications. I mean, when you have a group of teenagers trying, in some way, to one-up each other, tensions can arise. But the most challenging aspect of being on the team for Pranger? Simple. “Usually the questions on the page” she says, blatantly. With such a title, however, comes a stigma. That is, what comes to mind when someone says the word “mathlete”? Perhaps it’s Cady Heron or Kevin Gnapoor from Mean Girls (#thelimitdoesnotexist). Perhaps it’s Nicole Bristow from Zoey 101. Perhaps it’s, well, any stereotypical “nerd” from teen-steered media outlet… But for her, that’s not the point. “Yes, it can be daunting to try and score better than a Hafner (not sure if that’s even possible), but the point is learning something new. It can be a nerdy thing, but not everyone on the team is the stereotypical “nerd”’ she says. Whether or not mathleticism will play a Pranger’s future is undecided. “I barely know what I want for dinner tonight, let alone what I want to do with my life” she explained. And I think most of us can relate. “I guess I could say I’m keeping my options open.” The Forum hopes, though, that she will be rational in her decisions. (Olivia Baker’s first and only attempt at a math joke.)]]>