By Liz Verley, Staff Writer
Sixty teams from schools around the state recently participated in the Minnesota Super Mileage competition at Brainerd International Raceway. At the competition Royalton’s Tech Group walked away with the top honors for the highest mileage rating.
The object of the competition is to provide a challenge of classroom learning experiences together with student ingenuity and teamwork to produce the most fuel efficient vehicle. The competition is sponsored by the Minnesota Technology and Engineering Educator Association (MTEEA)
Before entering a vehicle, an engine design proposal must be submitted to MTEEA.
Adviser Marty Bratsch said, “The Minnesota Super Mileage competition is probably the best opportunity for students in Minnesota to showcase their design and problem solving abilities.”
Students put in hundreds of hours designing, creating proposals and building vehicles. “Just getting a car to the track is a feat many schools never achieve,” Bratsch said. “Even when you think everything is working smoothly, the intangibles strike. The stress levels rise and the team goes into action to solve another problem.
“This is a true learning arena,” Bratsch said, Students come up with the plan and ideas and build them. The students solve the problems. Math, physics, research and technical writing skills are all implemented for a team to be successful.
“I am so proud of our team, to be able to face the caliber of competition that we did and come out on top. What our students did was beyond my wildest dreams.”
During last year’s competition, the car stopped a half lap short of the finish line, so this year’s victory was twice as sweet.
Bratsch said, “It was great to see Swanville and Pierz at the competition representing our area. We also encourage other teams to take the challenge. It is a fantastic opportunity for students to participate in a true S.T.E.M. project.”
Team member Sawyer Anderson said, “I had no idea we were doing so well until the end.”
“We really need to thank our sponsors. It is just great to see professionals come in and help out and the organizations and businesses that make donations,” said Bratsch. “Newman’s Manufacturing, the Royalton Fire Department, Auto Value of Little Falls and Scheel’s Sports have been just great in supporting our project.”
Team Leader Wyatt Anderson, who is a senior this year and drove the vehicle during the competition, said, “Many hours were needed outside of the regular school day to complete the car. Improvements and changes were happening throughout the process to gain a competitive edge.”
Anderson was the only senior on the five-member team.
Royalton has been involved off and on for 26 years. The first team was made up of Dale Kloss, Chris Moulzolf, Jason Keske and Bill Oelrich. (Brandi Kloss, a member of this year’s winning team is Dale Kloss’ niece).
The Super Mileage competition has been held for 26 years. There were seven schools that attended the first challenge held in St. Cloud. (Royalton was one of the seven). Teams have participated from Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, North Dakota, Washington, D.C. and Canada.