The global pursuit of increased fuel efficiency was tackled by area high school students when Moraine Park Technical College recently hosted the fourth annual Endurance Challenge at its Fond du Lac campus. The event is sponsored by the College’s Engine Research and Development Technician program.
High school students were challenged to modify a Courage XT-7 4.5-horsepower lawnmower engine, manufactured and donated by Kohler Co., to get the best fuel efficiency and run the longest. The modified engines were then brought to Moraine Park to compete. Each team was given the same amount of gas and the engines were timed.
Fond du Lac High School came in first with a running time of 35 minutes and 12 seconds, followed by Sheboygan North (30:11), Plymouth (22:00), Princeton (17:40), Oshkosh West (16:20), West Bend West (15:50) and Sheboygan South (13:03). Unforeseen engine problems cause Campbellsport’s and Kewaskum’s engines to quit running earlier in the competition.
The teams were assisted by Moraine Park faculty, staff and students as well as employees of Mercury Marine and Kohler Co. The students shared the challenge of making successful modifications within a specific timeframe, coming up with ideas and figuring out what would work or not. Comparing the other engines provided them with new ideas and an increased understanding of engines.
The winning engine was modified by Fond du Lac seniors Jarred Henning, Ryan Hopp, Kenny Johnson, Cory Siedschlag and Derek Steffes. Their instructor, Cory Clark, said his students got to see what other teams came up with and what Moraine Park is about.
Coming in second were Sheboygan North sophomores Ryan Grimm, Eric Vang and Kyle Wilmot and junior Derek Wyatt. Alan Rekowski, who teaches small-engine and automotive classes, said the Endurance Challenge provides his students with more about designing and engineering engines rather than just maintaining them.
“It was a phenomenal problem-solving experience with the students,” said Princeton High School Technical Education Instructor Scott Simacek, whose team of seniors Cory Prachel, Derek Mashada and Jake Braun came in fourth.
“I think coming here is an opportunity we don’t get in the classroom,” said Oshkosh West Technology and Engineering Instructor Bill Benson, whose students Brandon Hoeft, Jeremy Nygaard and Sam Sesing took fifth place. “It’s a goal to shoot for.”
Don Koloski, manager of customer education at Briggs & Stratton, filled in for West Bend West High School Instructor Jerry Williams and attended the competition with seniors Matt Koloski and Tony Piechowski, who took sixth. “The products produced today are not what our parents used,” said Koloski, adding that there is a shortage of technically skilled workers in the engine industry. “Not enough young individuals are getting into this field.”
Each member of the winning team will receive a $250 Moraine Park scholarship if they enroll at the College. Other prizes included Snap-On screwdrivers, hats, shirts, flash drives and Leatherman tools. Prizes were donated by Kohler Co., Mercury Marine, Briggs & Stratton, John Deere and Wacker Corporation, all of which have been strong supporters of Moraine Park’s Engine Research and Development program.
Fall 2008 enrollment for the Engine Research and Development Technician program is currently under way at Moraine Park. For more information about the program, including a program video, or the annual Endurance Challenge, contact Tom Denow, engine research and development program instructor and competition coordinator, at 920-924-3299 or firstname.lastname@example.org.