Solar Splash returns to Clark County Fairgrounds

Collegiate Solar Boating competition canceled a year ago, runs through Saturday.

The Solar Splash World Championship of Collegiate Solar Boating competition is back at the Clark County Fairgrounds this week after being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event began Wednesday and is set to run through Saturday.

The competition includes 300-meter sprints and 2-hour endurance.

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“We have endurance runs, where we run them for four hours, to see if they can keep going, and how many laps they can do. We’re trying to make a real engineering challenge by having the boats to have to do both things [sprinting and endurance]. Whoever’s boats does both things wins,” said Jeff Morehouse, who is the coordinator for Solar Splash.

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College teams participating include the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, University of New Mexico, University at Buffalo, The College of New Jersey, Wright State University, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, University of Southern Indiana, Cornell University, and Cedarville University, the winners of the 2019 competition.

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“It’s our first time here, which is super exciting,’' said Maggie Bolin, who is on Southern Indiana’s team. “As a team, we’re all completely new to the competition, but thought it kinda sounded like a fun, interesting project, because with engineering, a lot of the time you’re just designing things, you’re not actually getting your hands on things, so this was a really good way for us to actually to get some hands on experience building things.”

Organizers were grateful for a safe venue to have the event in the midst of COVID-19, as teams were being brought in from as far as Puerto Rico and New Mexico.

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“After COVID, we only have half as many teams participating, we have nine here. We normally have somewhere around 20. We held it here, because we said, ‘Hey, we can’t miss it two years in a row,’ we wanted to get it going again. We’re happy to be able to do this at the fairgrounds,” said Morehouse.

On March 25, 2020, Solar Splash announced on its Facebook page that the annual event would have to be canceled for the year.

The event will finish with an awards ceremony on Saturday at 2:15 p.m.

For more information about Solar Splash, visit its Facebook page, or website at https://solarsplash.com/.

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