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Ohio University mechanical engineers take third place at Human Powered Vehicle Challenge

Tyler Prich | Apr 24, 2017
HPVC Team 2017

Ohio University mechanical engineers take third place at Human Powered Vehicle Challenge

Tyler Prich | Apr 24, 2017

Rainy weather at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 2017 Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC) East Competition didn’t wash away the Ohio University team’s spirits – or stop them from bringing home four awards, including a third-place finish overall.

The annual competition drew nearly 40 student teams from across the country and as far away as Mexico and Colombia to Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tennessee, to pit two-, three- and four-wheeled human-powered vehicles against one other in design and safety tests, drag races, and a two-and-a-half-hour endurance race. 

The Russ College’s “Team Peregrine” took home third place overall for the second year in a row, also earning first place in design, second in the team endurance race and third in the women’s drag race.

“The vehicle performed very well and, in a number of cases, better than expected,” team co-captain and mechanical engineering junior Matt McKenzie said. “But it wasn’t just the vehicle that performed well – the team also worked well together to ensure that the vehicle was completed on time and was reliable, despite the increased complexity compared to previous vehicles.”

The two main events were the drag races, which focused on speed, and the endurance race – a relay race that featured hills, turns and obstacles such as speed bumps and rumble strips. Finally, the safety and design scores were given similar weight to the performance events. 

Mechanical engineering senior Rachel Schack, who had OHIO’s fastest time in the women’s drag race, attributed her successful performance to the team’s ability to work together.

“I personally love the competition atmosphere and just getting in the vehicle and riding. I would never be able to do this without a great team of engineering students and faculty executing every detail of the design and manufacturing process so well,” Schack said. “Adrenaline and a friendly competitive spirit run high in everyone all weekend, which definitely pushes me to ride hard.”

Russ College Technician Joey Boyle, who helped guide the team in their design and construction, said the students’ teamwork throughout the year made it clear they were on track to perform well.

"I'm always impressed by what these students can do,” Boyle said. “They're a really great group who work hard together. They put together a great machine, and I'm not surprised at all that they were successful."

With this year being the team’s just third year competing, McKenzie said that the past two years taught the students a lot about designing not only for speed, but also for sustainability, something the HPVC highlights.

“We were able to take the last two years of experience at the competitions and design a vehicle that could be both more competitive in the events at the competition, and more comfortable for a daily rider, as the competition focuses on improving human-powered transportation,” McKenzie said. “I most certainly believe the team made significant improvements this year, and we look to continue improving for years to come.”

Catch up on the weekend's excitment on the Russ College's Facebook page.

The final results for all categories and events are below:

Men’s Drag Race:

  1. South Dakota State 
  2. University of Florida
  3. Rose-Hullman

Women’s Drag Race:

  1. South Dakota State 
  2. Rose-Hullman
  3. Ohio University

Endurance Race:

  1. South Dakota State 
  2. Ohio University
  3. Akron


  1. Ohio University
  2. Rose-Hullman
  3. South Dakota State 


  1. Rose-Hullman
  2. Missouri S&T
  3. Wisconsin-Madison


  1. Rose-Hullman
  2. South Dakota State
  3. Ohio University