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Ohio Northern University’s Baja SAE team caps off successful season with top-10 finish

Jun 19, 2013

The Ohio Northern Baja SAE (Society of Automotive Engineering) team capped off its 2012-13 season by finishing ninth overall, and third out of 100 teams in the endurance race category, at Baja SAE in Rochester, N.Y., from June 6-9. 

The top 10 overall finishers were McGill University, University of Louisville, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Michigan,Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Ecole De Technologie Superieure, University of Maryland, University of Wisconsin, ONU and Iowa State University.

ONU’s team also garnered third place in the Mike Schmidt Memorial Iron Team competition, awarded for “perseverance, engineering excellence and competitive success as demonstrated by earning the highest cumulative point score at the three U.S. Baja SAE events in a single competition season.” The award is given in memory of Mike Schmidt, a founding member of the “resurrected” Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Baja team. Schmidt was extremely motivated by the Baja program at RIT and was a driving force behind RIT’s first participation at all three North American Baja events in 1999.

This most recent performance caps a successful five-race season, which included the Louisville Midnight Mayhem last fall (third place), Michigan Tech’s Winter Baja in February, Baja SAE Tennessee in April (second place), and Baja SAE Washington in May (seventh place).

“The whole team did a fantastic job this year,” said David Mikesell, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and ONU’s SAE adviser. “The competition at these events is intense. Some top-tier tech schools send 30 or more students to an event and have 10 or more seniors active on the project. ONU students have proven they can do as well as – or better than – these schools, with only two seniors and a total of eight to 10 students working on the project.”

In this SAE collegiate design competition, engineering students design and build off-road vehicles that must survive the punishment of rough terrain and water. SAE student teams compete against one another to have their design accepted for manufacture by a fictitious firm.

The ONU students who traveled to the competition were Sean Rutt, a senior mechanical engineering major from Apple Creek, Ohio; David Cramer, a senior mechanical engineering major from New Washington, Ohio; Ryan O’Connor, a senior mechanical engineering major from Mason, Ohio; James Crawford, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Seville, Ohio; James Mong, a sophomore civil engineering major from Macedonia, Ohio; Will Rostorfer, a freshman manufacturing technology major from Jeffersonville, Ohio; and Kyle Mapel, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Heath, Ohio. Bill Kanzig, ONU machinist, serves as the team’s adviser.