Louisiana Tech University Logo

Louisiana Tech University


News @ Tech

COES student team places in top 20 at regional competition

Louisiana Tech University’s SAE Baja team finished in the top 20 of nearly 100 collegiate teams competing in the suspension course at the Collegiate Design Series held recently at Tennessee Tech University.

L to R: front row – Austin Delaune, Lucas Waldron, Brice Soigner, Kayleigh Jowers; middle row – Josh Chopin, Cody Maricelli, Johnny Negerete, Tyler Walsh, Dillon Morvant; back row – Blair Eidt, John Kraft, Nicholas Hayes, Chris Kotar, Matthew Lacrouts, Nicholas Winters, Wilson Wise.

L to R: front row – Austin Delaune, Lucas Waldron, Brice Soigner, Kayleigh Jowers; middle row – Josh Chopin, Cody Maricelli, Johnny Negerete, Tyler Walsh, Dillon Morvant; back row – Blair Eidt, John Kraft, Nicholas Hayes, Chris Kotar, Matthew Lacrouts, Nicholas Winters, Wilson Wise.

The objective of the SAE Baja competition is to provide students with a challenging project that involves the design, planning and manufacturing tasks found when introducing a new product to the consumer industrial market.  Teams compete against one another to have their design accepted for manufacture by a fictitious firm.

Students must function as a team to not only design, build, test, promote, and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules, but also to generate financial support for their project and manage their educational priorities.  The Louisiana Tech team had to design and build an off-road vehicle that could make laps in rough terrain using an engine bought from the organization. The overall competition is judged on commercial criteria.

In addition to their top 20 finish, the Louisiana Tech team, consisting of Josh Chopin, Austin Delaune, Blaire Eidt, Garrett Gibson, Nicholas Hayes, Kayleigh Jowers, Chris Kotar, John Kraft, Matthew Lacrouts, Cody Maricelli, Dillon Morvant, Johnny Negrete, Brice Soignier, Lucas Waldron, Tyler Walsh, Nicholas Winters and Wilson Wise, also dropped 100 pounds from the total weight of the car, doubling their sales presentation score and completing the four-hour endurance race.  The team from Louisiana Tech was one of only 16 to complete the suspension course. They also received the highest score in team history for their cost report and prototype cost.

Dr. Niel Crews, director of the Institute for Micromanufacturing and associate professor of mechanical engineering and SAE team sponsor says that organizations like Baja SAE help students get real-world experience necessary for success after college.

“I am very proud of these students,” Crews said. “They have worked hard to be competitive in the Baja SAE competition, while continuing to perform well in the classroom. This really represents the best experience for college students: real hands-on engineering combined with a solid academic education.

“This makes such a big difference in the quality of the engineers that graduate from Louisiana Tech University.  For this reason, we make it possible for all our mechanical engineering students to get involved in engineering clubs like Baja SAE.”

The Louisiana Tech team is an interdisciplinary organization that includes students from across the College of Engineering and Science, and even includes a student from agricultural business and one from architectural studies.

SAE International is a global association of more than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries. The Louisiana Tech team works throughout the year to build a vehicle that is durable and cost efficient.

Written by Brandy McKnight – mcknight@latech.edu