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MAHS underclassmen beat 19 teams in coding contest

Posted 6/19/19

A freshman, sophomore and junior at Middletown Area High School recently defeated 19 area high school teams predominantly consisting of juniors and seniors in the 34th annual Computer Problem …

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MAHS underclassmen beat 19 teams in coding contest

Posted

A freshman, sophomore and junior at Middletown Area High School recently defeated 19 area high school teams predominantly consisting of juniors and seniors in the 34th annual Computer Problem Solving Contest at Harrisburg Area Community College.

Freshman Christian Burke-Bowman, sophomore Ryder Webster and junior Justin Yohn attacked the two-hour challenge using their combined knowledge of coding and became the only team in the competition to complete all seven problems correctly.

The 20 teams were challenged to solve seven “Game of Thrones”-themed problems using only computer code.

“It was stressful, but fun,” Christian said. “We chose to use Python but you could use any code you wanted; like java, C#, C++, or JavaScript. When we finished, we were pretty confident we got them all right because they all passed the tests they give you to check your coding.”

Justin added: “We finished with about 10 minutes to spare and we went back and added comments.”

“Beforehand, I told them we were going to win,” Christian said.

But one of his teammates didn’t quite have the same confidence.

“I didn’t think we’d have a chance,” Justin said. “We weren’t allowed to prepare at all so we didn’t know what to expect. This was a new competition for us, and we really didn’t know much about it.”

The judges noted that, in addition to their coding accuracy, their programming efficiency and documentation set them apart from the other teams.

Ryder’s participation in the contest is a family tradition. When his father was a high school sophomore, he competed in the very first year of this same competition 34 years ago. However, his father’s team didn’t leave with a first-place finish.