10 Types of Students who Benefit from USAT

Maybe you’re a parent who is wondering if USAT is right for your child, or you’re a teacher who is thinking about recruiting students but you’re having trouble deciding who to ask. US Academic Triathlon is all about fostering curiosity and creativity in the next generation of leaders, and we offer a broad range of opportunities for students to flex their creative problem-solving and practice the skills they will need for future success both inside and outside of the classroom.


Students will benefit from USAT if they…

  1. …don’t get enough of a chance to be creative in their everyday lives.
    • Tablets, cell phones, televisions, video games, homework, chores, sports—these are all competing for the attention of today’s student. At a USAT Meet, kids get a chance to set aside time to focus on stretching themselves creatively free of these sorts of distractions.
  2. …feel shy in a large classroom setting.
    • Schools don’t always have the resources to keep their class sizes small, and sometimes the kids who don’t speak up don’t get a chance to shine. USAT teams are small for a reason; we want every voice to be heard and every idea considered.usat_picks9
  3. …work well with others.
    • Each Meet is a competition, but we also create challenges that emphasize and reward teams who work well together. Our events are timed and every second counts!
  4. …don’t work well with others.
    • Whether it is in school or at work, sooner or later we all have to work in a group. USAT creates a supportive and positive risk-taking environment to help students figure out how to navigate group work, share responsibility, parse out responsibilities, and play to the strengths of each team member.
  5. …like to perform and excel at public speaking.
    • USAT teams are guaranteed at least four chances to compete each season (and a fifth if they go on to State in the spring), which means four chances to perform in front of an audience. Students who love to sing, do cart wheels, bust a move, or show off some other sort of special skill will love the opportunity to stand up and be counted during A.R.T.Y. in a Box challenges!
  6. …would benefit from a chance to practice their public speaking skills.
    • We can’t all be born for the stage, so students who aren’t already strong communicators get a chance to practice. The skits at the end of every Meet aren’t the only chance for students to speak up. Face-Off! and Mind Sprints offer a chance to share knowledge and ideas, especially if they are outside the box.img_8672
  7. …enjoy building things.
    • Do you know someone who can make a knight out of plastic cups? A witch out of a paper bag? Got a student in your life that can visualize how things fit together and enjoys figuring out how things work? They’ll love this program!
  8. …have good reading comprehension and listening skills.
    • Classes might have names like “Social Studies” or “Earth Sciences,” but students learn a lot more during formal and informal educational situations than just information about the three branches of government or types of rocks. USAT asks team members to think critically about actions and reactions, and kids who can interpret what they hear or read will enjoy solving our puzzles.
  9. img_8671…have difficulty following instructions.
    • Being able to understand a worksheet or follow the instructions a teacher gives for a lab is vital for students to succeed, but it doesn’t necessarily come easily to everyone. The competitive nature of USAT gives students a fun incentive to gain as many points as possible by paying close attention, thinking about what they hear, and asking the right questions to aid comprehension.
  10. …are good at telling stories.
    • Humans are story-tellers, it’s in our blood. We learn and share through narratives all the time, and USAT is no exception. We challenge students to express their views and solutions through stories and approach the art of problem-solving from a new but accessible angle.


Learn more about bringing USAT to your school

Check out the season dates

Find out more about the three events that make up a Meet





Bring USAT to Your School in 6 Easy Steps

Are you a teacher looking to offer a new activity at your school? A parent looking for an outlet for your creative and active student? US Academic Triathlon is a fun, challenging, and creative extracurricular activity for middle school students. Here are 5 easy steps to get started:

  1. Attain the support and affiliation of a school or school district.

While independent teams have been known to compete, most find it easier to be aligned with a school or district in order to share resources. Teachers often become coaches to offer extracurricular activities to their students – but that doesn’t mean a coach has to be a teacher. Parents and volunteers at least 16 or older are welcome to coach! Reach out to your student’s teacher, the school’s activity director, or the principal’s office for information on starting a new extracurricular activity at your school.

Each team must be willing and able to host at least one meet during the season, should it be needed. To host a meet, you will need to borrow space – ideally a local school – with at least 7 rooms, one of which needs to be large enough for PARTY presentations and an audience. If teams can have a place to practice similar to meet locations it’s also a plus.

Check out our blog post on September 29 for tips on how to talk with your school or district about offering USAT.

  1. Determine how to pay the registration fee of $225 per team.

Will the school or district pay the fee? Will the participation fee be passed on to the student? When broken down among a 5-student team, USAT is an investment of $11.25 per student per competition (excluding the opportunity to attend the State competition, which incurs a $50 registration fee per team).

  1. Recruit at least 4, but ideally 6 students.

A full team has 5 students. Teams of 4 students can still be competitive, and teams of 6 allow for one alternate in case a team member unable to compete during the scheduled meet. Students must be in grades 5 through 8; the Challenger division is for grades 5 and 6 while the Cross Trainer division is for grades 7 and 8. Teams compete in the division of their oldest student. For example, a team made up of four 5th graders and one 8th grader will compete in the Cross Trainer division, which is more difficult.

  1. Register with US Academic Triathlon.

Registration materials will be available Oct. 1. Registration is due by Nov. 4. Team fees are due by Dec. 2.

  1. Practice with your team.

Use these samples or the practice materials and tips found on our blog to hold some practices.

  1. Attend your first meet with your team!

If you have further questions about starting a team, view our FAQ or Coaching a Team pages, or call our office at 507-645-2560.

We’re excited to have you as part of USAT this year!


Round Robin #3 Reflection

The time sure flies when you are having fun! We are more than halfway done with this USAT season, and we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Have you noticed any differences from last year to this year? Are the weekly articles on this blog helping you and your team? Did any of the events stand out to you? Do you have any pictures to share?

Please leave a comment or send comments and concerns to Sarah@usacademictriathlon.com


Round Robin #2 Reflection

USAT_Pics9That’s two Round Robins down and only one to go! We’d love to hear from you about our second Meet of the season.

Did any students display a special or surprising talent? Did you get a kick out of any of challenges? Were there items on the Face-Off! that even stumped the parents?

Leave us a comment by clicking “Leave a Comment” below the title of this post and send your photos to aweaverdyck@usacademictriathlon.com to get them into our future photo gallery.


Meet 1 Reflection

Now that you have the first Round Robin under your belt, we’d love to hear from you.

Did you have a favorite event? Did you see a particularly good P.A.R.T.Y. in a box performance? Do you have any good photos of the action you’d like to share?

Leave us a comment below and send your photos to usatstuff@gmail.com to get them into our photo gallery.