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Xtreme Team Profile
Ohio Northern University’s SAE Baja team tops in U.S. for prestigious Iron Team Award
Ohio Northern University’s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Baja team finished its highly successful season as the highest-ranking U.S. team in the running for the Mike Schmidt Memorial Iron Team Award, given to the group that earns the highest cumulative point score at the three seasonal U.S./Canada Baja SAE events.
Intended to honor a team for perseverance, engineering excellence and competitive success, the award is given in memory of Mike Schmidt, a founding member of the Baja team at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Two teams from Canada finished ahead of ONU.
ONU, which finished in the top 10 in its two previous regional events, ended its season with a sixth-place overall finish at the Baja SAE Illinois competition June 8-11 in Peoria, Ill. The event featured 115teams from several countries, including Canada, India and Venezuela.
The Baja SAE competition challenges engineering students to research and design an off-road vehicle that will be subjected to a battery of rigorous performance tests. The vehicles are judged based on acceptance for manufacture by a fictitious firm. Each vehicle is entirely student-designed and built, and students must raise financial support for the project. There are three regional competitions in which students may compete.
ONU finished in the top 20 in six of the competition’s eight categories: endurance (fifth place), sales presentation (fourth), rock climb (13th), maneuverability (12th), design (11th), and design cost (20th).
“This year’s team did not just set one record for Ohio Northern’s Baja team; they set a dozen. And to have such success against so many top-tier technological universities really adds to the glory,” said David Mikesell, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and the team’s advisor. “Over the past four years, this all-volunteer team has gone from the back of the pack to frontrunners. Previously ignored by their competitors, this team is now sought after for advice, and their design has become a benchmark for other teams to follow.”
The members of Ohio Northern’s team are Matt Tomasko, a senior construction management major from Valley View, Ohio, and mechanical engineering students Austin Moyer, a senior from New Washington, Ohio, and team president; Chris Slattery, a senior from Pittsburgh, Penn., Brandon Anspach, a junior from Rawson, Ohio; Sean Rutt, a sophomore from Apple Creek, Ohio; James Grigsby, a senior from Spencerville, Ohio; David Cramer, a sophomore from New Washington, Ohio; Ashley Batesole, a freshman from Medina, Ohio; Brandon Gloss, a senior from Pickerington, Ohio; Colin Bayman, a sophomore from Urbana, Ohio; and Ryan O’Connor, a freshman from Mason, Ohio. Mikesell and Bill Kanzig, ONU machinist, serve as team advisors.