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TSA 2015 Event Highlights

Student competitions are in our blood at The Science of Speed, and we often lend a hand with them – like the recent National 2015 TSA Conference.

Pitsco’s Science of Speed crew returned to help run the races for the Dragster Design competition at this year’s event for the Technology Student Association, which was held June 28 to July 2 in Dallas, Texas. Approximately 6,500 students and educators attended.

The Dragster Design event, which is for both high school and middle school, requires participants to design and build a CO2 racecar within the specifications for that year’s event. All cars race in a time trial, and the fastest 20 or so are checked to see how well they meet the specifications. The top 16 in each age division compete in a double-elimination bracket to reveal the top car.

This year’s cars all ran a bit slower than last year’s, likely due to changes in the spec. This year, TSA required a car that was 90 mm shorter and had a minimum weight of 10 grams more than the 2014 cars. Pitsco’s Dan Eckelberry, who has helped run the TSA races for more than 18 years, said he thought this might be why there were fewer damaged cars this year.

“That’s something that’s not talked about very often,” he said. “But the car holding up during the whole race is definitely part of the engineering challenge.”

And this challenge was met the best by Florida sophomore Merritt Kendzior, a second-time winner of the national event in the high school division. In the middle school group, Florida’s David Woodruff took the lead, followed by his brother Michael. You can view the top 16 vehicles in each division in our Showroom.

Overall, there were 128 middle school entries and 113 high school entries in Dragster Design.

Check out this year’s field of top competitors:

Dragster Design High School Top Placers:

1st: Merritt Kendzior of Southeast High School, FL (1.037)

2nd: Tommy Ngo of Bowie High School, TX (1.035)

3rd: Sheel Patel of Southeast High School, FL (1.06)

4th: Joe Keesee of Palm Bay Magnet High School, FL (1.036)

5th: Thinh Nguyen of Bowie High School, TX (1.065)


Dragster Design Middle School Top Placers:

1st: David H. Woodruff of Louise R. Johnson, FL (1.158)

2nd: Michael Woodruff of Louise R. Johnson, FL (1.151)

3rd: Alexander Kumar of R. Dan Nolan Middle School, FL (1.186)

4th: Grant Trautweiler of R. Dan Nolan Middle School, FL (1.153)

5th: Mick Rash of Bearden Middle School, TN (1.157)


Another event for Science of Speed fans is Transportation Modeling. This requires participants to design and create a scale model based on the challenge for the specific year. The 2015 challenge was to create a scale helicopter that fit within a certain size and any wheels incorporated had to roll.

This event saw many interesting designs, including dual horizontal propellers and other unique perspectives on helicopters. Ke’aja Jefferson of Virginia nabbed first place.

 This event had a total of 113 entries; the top five placers were:

Transportation Modeling

1st: Ke’aja Jefferson of Richmond Technical Center, VA

2nd: Jared Herbert of Lakewood Ranch High School, FL

3rd: Hanson Tan of Bowie High School, TX

4th: Ian MacDonald of Manatee High School, FL

5th: Merritt Kendzior of Southeast High School, FL

By PJ Graham, Pitsco Web Content Specialist