TCU football player nabs first place at calculus bee

Deep snapper becomes first football player to take first place

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From left to right: Phuc Ta, third place winner, Cody Cox, first place winner, Nick Vreeburg, second place winner. (Photo courtesy of Igor Prokhorenkov) Students solve a problem in the fifth round of Tuesday's calculus bee. (TCU 360/Richard Escobedo) Ken Richardson explains how to solve a particular problem after a round of competition. (TCU 360/Richard Escobedo) Following elimination, a competitor asked her professor, Rhonda Hatcher, for help solving the problem she missed. (TCU 360/Richard Escobedo) Second place winner Nick Vreeburg studies a problem in the final round of competition. (TCU 360/Richard Escobedo) Around 40 students participated in Tuesday's calculus bee. (TCU 360/Richard Escobedo) From left to right: Scott Nollet, Susan Staples and calculus bee organizer Ken Richardson tabulate the results after a round of competition. (TCU 360/Richard Escobedo) Competitors leave after being eliminated in the fifth round. (TCU 360/Richard Escobedo) Phuc Ta looks on as a problem is presented. Ta took third place at Tuesday's calculus bee. (TCU 360/Richard Escobedo)

On the football field he’s a deep snapper, but in the classroom he’s a math whiz.

Redshirt freshman Cody Cox took first place at the TCU math department’s 31st annual calculus bee Tuesday. He’s the first football player to ever take the top spot.

In fact, because Cox is a member of the football team, he had to rearrange his schedule in order to participate in the calculus bee.

“I had to talk to Coach Bumpas and move my workout,” Cox said. “We work out in two groups – offense at 2:30 p.m., defense at 3:30 p.m. – and it was actually right during this time, so I had to move to the 7 a.m. workout.”

Rounding out second and third place respectively were Nick Vreeburg and Phuc Ta. The two went head-to-head in “triple overtime,” answering three questions until one found the correct answer.

Prizes and gift cards to the TCU Bookstore were awarded to Cox, Vreeburg and Ta for finishing in the top three.

Around 40 students packed a classroom in Tucker Technology Center for this year’s calculus bee, which was right on par with last year’s bee, said Ken Richardson, the event’s organizer.

Richardson also said this year’s bee was a success, writing in an e-mail, “It met my expectations, which were high.”

As in the past, there was a theme to go along with this year’s competition: Calculus and the Earth.

There was also a secondary theme, Recycled Calculus Bee. Problems from past eras were used in reference to the fact the bee took place on Earth Day. Competitors even answered questions on recycled paper.

Those who participated were mainly math students, but some came from other majors that require calculus, such as engineering, Richardson said.

Cox, for instance, is a business major. But after today’s win, he said he is considering adding a math minor.

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