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Perseverance Pays Off for 2010 High School Champ

You might once have called Brennon Hocker a CO2 racing journeyman. This high school senior has certainly been on a journey, building more than 50 cars in his TSA career, which started in eighth grade. When Brennon was a ninth-grade student at Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton, Florida, his entry placed sixth overall at the TSA national competition. His sophomore year was a disappointing one – his car was disqualified due to a violation of official event specifications. Undaunted, he returned his junior year to take third place.

“The winning is awesome, but all the other things about him are even better. He’s deserved it.” – Greg McGrew, advisor

Don’t call him a journeyman any longer. Call him champ. After striving for years and overcoming obstacles, he’s won the highest honor – first place in the high school division of TSA’s National Dragster Design event for 2010.

Contributing to his success is the engineering process he has refined over the years. Brennon starts by selecting just the right wood blank – he prefers medium-density balsa wood. Unlike many car builders, Brennon crafts his cars by hand. He does use advanced technology, however. He designed his wheels in SolidWorks and then used a rapid prototyping machine at an area school to produce the real versions.

Advisor Greg McGrew wants to make it clear who deserves all the credit for Brennon’s success – Brennon. “It’s all about him. . . . I’m there if they need this or that, but he did this entire car by himself. I’ve watched him grow as a student. He helps everyone else out.” McGrew went on to say that Brennon helped students at other schools with their cars, even those who would be competing with him. “The winning is awesome, but all the other things about him are even better. It’s capped off a milestone. He’s deserved it.”

Brennon plans to attend the University of Central Florida next year to study aerospace engineering. His love for engineering classes, drafting, math, and challenging activities such as CO2 racing have encouraged him to pursue engineering as a career. With Brennon’s great character, tenacity, and engineering skill, one can only imagine what he will accomplish in college and beyond.

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