Friday, July 07, 2017

[513] Eighth-place MTSU engineering team earns major Solar Splash awards

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Following back-to-back second-place finishes in 2015-16, MTSU’s solar boat team placed eighth overall — and racked up two major awards along the way — in the annual Solar Splash international competition.

The event was held earlier in June on the lake adjacent to the Clark County Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ohio.

Solar Splash, officially named the International Intercollegiate Solar/Electric Boat Regatta, is the world championship of intercollegiate solar/electric boating. Teams come from across the country and internationally to compete.

Once again, host Cedarville University earned first-place honors and was named Collegiate World Champion. The University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez placed second. Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, earned third place. For more results, visit

MTSU’s top finish was third in the Sprint category, finishing behind winner Cedarville and runner-up Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.

The MTSU entry shined in earning Outstanding Workmanship and Outstanding Electrical System Design awards.

“With a new team and new boat, there were many learning opportunities,” said Joel Clements, a graduate assistant in the Department of Engineering Technology’s Experimental Vehicles Program. “The competition we faced was very good.”

Clements said the team fared well despite seeing its vessel nearly sank during a test run on Percy Priest Lake before leaving for the Ohio event.

“As Dr. (Saeed) Foroudastan (team adviser) told us, we were there to learn and have fun,” Clements said.

Clements recognized the role played by student veterans on the respective solar boat and Baja SAE experimental vehicles.

“These guys were great,” he said, referring to the solar boat’s Brad Echols and Dustin Falls and Baja’s David Hasty. “They showed maturity … they are going to be successful. They might say, ‘That doesn’t work. We can’t quit.’ They’ll find a way. I wish more people could benefit from that (veteran influence).”

The MTSU Baja Society of Automotive Engineers team encountered a transmission breakdown on a transport vehicle en route to its national competition in Peoria, Illinois. It forced them to miss the technical inspection and meant they could not compete, said team member Brad Hobbs.

“We are already in the design phase for the next one (2018),” said Hobbs, adding he anticipates additional testing and travel time to be part of the team’s plans.

To learn more about the program, visit or call 615-494-8786.

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