Freshman triplets take on competitive mathematics

This year's math team has a secret weapon - or three.

Freshman+Kaylee+Caudle%2C+Aidan+Caudle+and+Zachary+Caudle+earned+several+medals+at+the+first+UIL+meet+on+Jan.+25.

Chloe Carter

Freshman Kaylee Caudle, Aidan Caudle and Zachary Caudle earned several medals at the first UIL meet on Jan. 25.

Faith Fuller, Staff Writer

Three freshmen. Six medals. One set of talented triplets. Unfazed by their status as underclassmen, Kaylee Caudle, Zachary Caudle and Aidan Caudle kicked off their first high school University Interscholastic League (UIL) season with a victory.

The triplets competed in their first high school-level academic UIL meet on Saturday, Jan. 25 at Cypress Park High School and dominated the math events, with their sights now set on the upcoming Feb. 15 invitational. Kaylee placed third in both Number Sense and Mathematics, Zachary placed second in Number Sense and sixth in Mathematics, and Aidan placed sixth in Number Sense and fifth in Mathematics.
“We love pushing ourselves to do more,” Kaylee said. “Competing in UIL is a great way to keep learning and getting better.”

Though some students may think freshmen are simply naive newcomers, the six medals won by the Caudles prove otherwise.

“It’s pretty unusual to have so many freshman on our UIL team, but the Caudles are amazing,” UIL math coach Christine Kilcoyne said. “They practice a lot, they come to every meeting, and they’re always excited. I love having them on my team.”

The Caudles have competed in a variety of UIL events since fourth grade alongside a group of friends they met in their elementary school’s Gifted and Talented program.

“We have this group of about 15 friends, and we’re very academically focused and competitive,” Kaylee said. “We had the same teachers in elementary school and we’ve just stayed together ever since.”

In addition to Monday after-school practices with UIL math coach Christine Kilcoyne, the Caudles often get together with their friends for some extra outside-of-school preparation. Most students may spend their Friday nights playing Fortnite or making TikToks, but Kaylee, Zachary and Aidan seize the opportunity to sharpen their UIL skills.

The competitions are fun, but it’s the people that make it great.”

— Kaylee Caudle

“We host a practice at our house every Friday with our group of friends. It’s kind of part hangout, part practice,” Kaylee said. “We’ve been doing it since seventh grade.”

A typical Friday night get-together for the trio and their friends includes taking a practice test, going over the answers and reviewing more difficult problems. Some may find the large group setting distracting, but this group of dedicated freshmen sees it as a chance to learn from one another.

“Some of us know more about different subjects than others, so it’s kind of one big learning experience,” Zachary said.

For the Caudles, winning a UIL competition brings a reward far more precious than a medal – it brings ultimate sibling bragging rights.

“When you beat your siblings in an event, you have all the time in the world to laugh at them,” Aidan said. “It’s really fun rubbing it in their faces at home.”

Practice hangouts and sibling rivalries aside, competing in UIL is more than just fun and games.

“The calculator event is pretty stressful because you can just hear people typing into their calculators and turning pages of the test,” Zachary said. “It feels like everyone is getting ahead of you.”

For now, Kaylee, Zachary, and Aidan plan to continue competing in UIL and adding more medals to their collection.

“We love the competitive environment,” Kaylee said. “We’re surrounded by people we’ve known for years, and we’re all passionate about the same things. The competitions are fun, but it’s the people that make it great.”