Sanpete schools sweep top three places in Green car race
By Linda Petersen
TOOELE—Sanpete schools did well in a field of 17 schools at the recent Green Power Invitational on April 26 at the Utah Motor Sports Park in Tooele.
The top three places went to schools in the county, along with sixth and seventh places.
To participate, students must design and build a single-seat, electric-powered race car.
In the competition, which included a 45-minute qualifying heat and a 90-minute final heat, Gunnison Valley Middle School took first place overall with 100 points and clocked the most laps around the track at 41.
The team won the traveling trophy, a golden wheel.
This is just the second year Gunnison Valley Middle School has competed. Last year they also took first.
Manti High School took second overall and had the fastest lap at 85 seconds, scoring them 10 bonus points. They also won the award for best team video. (In addition to racing the car, participants must make a video introducing themselves and their role in building the Green Power car.)
Gunnison Valley High School was second in laps with 40 and took third place. (They lost out on 25 points because they did not submit a team video.)
North Sanpete Middle School took sixth and received the award for Sportiest Car.
Ephraim Middle School took seventh place.
North Sanpete High School entered the competition but did not place in the top 10. Their car received the People’s Choice award.
Several schools, including Gunnison Valley Middle School, used cars they had built from kits in previous years. This year, the middle school team added a fiberglass hood they had made in class to make the car more aerodynamic along with new lighter tires.
“We are so proud of our team,” said Samantha Dyreng, USU STARS! GEAR UP coordinator at Gunnison Valley Middle School. “They worked hard all year and learned about renewable energy, how to work with fiberglass and the inner workings of a battery-operated car. This team was constantly building each other up. They came in with confidence and worked hard, and it paid off.”
“Our team also worked very closely with the Gunnison Valley High School team,” she added. “They were a great support to us. It was a really close race. It was fun to finish first and second.”
GEAR UP, a college readiness program, sponsors the Green car programs at local schools. USU STARS! GEAR UP stands for Utah State University Science Technology Arithmetic Reading Students Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.
“GEAR UP is a STEM grant that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The students use these principles to design and refine their car. The race is the culminating event to show off their hard work,” said Melia Balls, USU Stars GEAR UP project coordinator.
In previous years, winners went on to national competition, but there will be no nationals this year, Balls said.