More than 700 high school students and their teachers gathered Thursday at Fort Hays State University for some fun competition with math.

The 39th annual Math Relays had students from 56 schools across the state compete individually and as teams in trigonometry, algebra, geometry and more.

Bill Weber, assistant professor of mathematics and Math Relays director, said this year had the largest group of competitors. The event has been growing since the remodel of the Memorial Union in 2007, he said.

Many of the students compete multiple years, Weber said.

“I think it’s just neat that so many students are excited to come here, and after they’ve been here one year, they’re excited to come back again. We hear that a lot from teachers,” he said.

It also helps as a recruiting tool for the university, he said.

“We don’t get a lot of math majors that come out of it, but we get a lot of students that end up coming to Fort Hays. They’ll say that as freshmen they were here, and one of the reasons they came here was Math Relays,” he said.

FHSU alumnus Elle Stein brought her students from La Crosse High School with that idea partly in mind.

“I want them to see campus,” she said.

It also, she admits, lets her students have a little fun by coming to Hays.

“It’s a really good activity they put on, because there’s not a lot of math activities out there. I think it’s good to have them come out here and have fun and maybe get a little more interested in math,” she said.

Junior Garrett Holopirek was one of the seven students competing from La Crosse.

“Math isn’t my worst subject, so I guess I have more than most kids. It’s a fun day,” he said.

Results from the contest will be posted at