Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe high school students continue to prove they have what it takes to succeed in local and national math- and science-based competitions.

Teams from both schools placed first this year in the Junior Engineering Technical Society's (JETS) 2011 TEAMS competition that took place in February.

It was just announced, however, that a team from Desert Vista placed ninth in the nation, out of 136 teams in the division for 11th- and 12th-grade students. Teams from Mountain Pointe placed 36th and 112th.

There are two rounds to the competition. The first is a 90-minute, 80-question multiple choice test that the team of eight completes. Questions are based on the theme of current energy demands and challenges.

The second is a two-question, open-answer portion, the scores of which were not released until last week.

The final overall scores and rankings were based on the combined score of the two sections. In the first section, Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe tied for first with Chandler High School.

"They are pretty bright kids," said Jamie Ruelas, coach and math teacher at Mountain Pointe. "They were into the spirit of the competition and did very well."

Neither of the coaches conducted rigid practices in preparation for the competition. Students worked out their strategies together to overcome the short amount of time they were allotted for each section of the competition.

"A lot of the strategizing was done the morning of the competition," Ruelas said. "The students kind of took it upon themselves to do individual practices."

Desert Vista sent one ninth- and 10th-grade team and one 11th- and 12th-grade team to the state competition, which took place at Arizona State University in February. Mountain Pointe sent two 11th- and 12-grade teams and one ninth- and 10th-grade team.

Desert Vista has placed first in four out of the last five years it has competed in JETS.

The one year they didn't win was because they didn't compete.

"It's a sign of the quality of education they are getting at this school," said Daryl Evans, coach and math teacher at Desert Vista. "We promote excellence and students seem to like that."

More than 10,000 individuals competed nationally in the competition. To find out more about the organization, visit

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