Wednesday, May 01, 2013

[455] MTSU Moonbuggy team savors best in U.S. distinction


News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or
MTSU Moonbuggy contact: Dr. Saeed Foroudastan, 615-494-8786 (office),        
615-417-2761 (cell) or

MTSU Moonbuggy team savors best in U.S. distinction

MURFREESBORO — The Middle Tennessee State University Moonbuggy team’s best-ever finish in the international Great Moonbuggy Race had an added distinction.

By finishing behind teams from Puerto Rico and Russia, MTSU Team 1 and its new Moonbuggy found itself best in the United States following the second of two days of competition Saturday, April 27.

Judges awarded first place in the college and university division to the team from the University of Puerto Rico at Hamacao, which was second in 2012. The International Space Education Institute/Moscow Aviation University’s “Team Russia” was runner-up.

“We were first in the nation (among U.S. college teams),” senior co-captain Ryan Miller of Murfreesboro said of the accomplishment. “We beat TTU (Tennessee Technological University), Ohio State, Texas A&M and Auburn — some pretty high-up engineering schools.”

Also, MTSU shared the Most Improved Award with Huntsville Center for Technology Team 1, for the “most dramatically improved engineering and performance,” and a YouTube video animation/simulation edited by Miller and created by he HIM and co-captain Brian Julian of Spring Hill, Tenn., drew rave reviews throughout the weekend event.

MTSU Team 1, with drivers Kevin Conner of Norman, Okla., and Devin Raines of Murfreesboro aboard the vehicle, improved significantly on its second run Saturday. They wheeled through the three-quarter mile obstacle course in 4 minutes, 23 seconds, and without penalty. Miller praised the drivers’ efforts both days.

MTSU adviser Dr. Saeed Foroudastan said the winning college entry did not finish its second run on Saturday, but the judges awarded them the top honor based on the team’s first-day showing on Friday.

Miller said Team 1’s suspension, gear ratio, steering and assembly time worked well, particularly on Day 2, and led to the strong finish, Miller said.

Other team members include senior Sadie Swaney of Clarksville, Tenn., senior Joseph Honea of Tullahoma, Tenn., senior Mike Myers of Greeneville, Tenn., junior Steven Chaput of Manchester, Tenn., and junior Thomas Cox of Nashville.

MTSU’s Moonbuggy teams have placed as high as fourth overall and earned two safety awards since entering the competition in 2003.

For more information about the 20th annual event, visit


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