SUMMIT, NJ - There are sporting events where individuals are mentally tested.  So why can't students mentally compete in a math competition?   

That is the premise behind Mathnasiums’s first TriMathlon Day, held Saturday, which had students in the 3rd through 6th grade, put through their paces by solving structured math problems competitively.

“We are trying raise math awareness and demonstrate to kids that you can have some fun doing a mental exercise, as well,” said James Ralston, who along with his wife, Jodi, own Mathnasium franchise locations in Summit and Chatham.

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The TriMathlon, like any triathlon, consists of three events. The competition consisted of three challenges: Magic Squares (creative problem solving), the Counting Game (counting from any number to any number, by any number), and Mental Math Workout (solving problems without pencil and paper). Each of these three challenges is fifteen minutes in duration.

Gold, Silver and Bronze medallions and prizes were awarded locally to the top three scorers in each grade level, and more than $10,000 in cash prizes will be shared among twelve national winners (approximately $2,000, $1,000 and $500 if the student achieves a national ranking).

Participants did not need to be members of the Mathnasium to compete.

“There is no limit to the sporting events that you can do in this country, but there are a very limited number of things you can do on the weekend academically,” Ralston said.

But now Ellie Sullivan and Nicole Lee have a place to exercise their brains on the weekend. Sullivan placed third and Lee placed first in the 4th grade math competition. Both are in 4th grade at the Franklin School.

When asked why they were in a math competition on the Weekend, Sullivan responded, “why not?”

The Ralstons said they had about 200 participants across all grades attend the competition.

Mathnasium’s TriMathlon Day is a national program with children across the United States participating.


Mathnasium Learning Centers offer year-round and summer-only educational programs for mathematics. With local centers in Chatham Township and Downtown Summit owned/operated by Jodi and James Ralston, Mathnasium offers an attractive and supportive setting for students, Pre-K through 12th grade, to develop essential math skills and build confidence in their abilities. Developed over 35 years of hands-on experience with thousands of children around the world, the Mathnasium educational method is designed for children of all ages and skill levels. Mathnasium offers an environment and method in which children develop a lasting understanding of math necessary to succeed in both academic and daily life. Mathnasium of Chatham can be reached at or and Mathnsium of Summit can be reached at or