Moraine Park holds Endurance Challenge 2010; Germantown team competes

May 26, 2010

Students from nine high schools used their mechanical and creative talents to come up with fuel efficiency ideas for the sixth annual Endurance Challenge. The event is sponsored by Moraine Park Technical College’s Engine Research and Development Technician program at the Fond du Lac campus.


The high school teams modified engines donated by Kohler Co. in the quest to get the best fuel efficiency and run the longest. The modified engines were brought to Moraine Park and given the same amount of gas, then timed. Moraine Park faculty, staff and students as well as employees of Kohler Co. and Briggs & Stratton assisted at the event.


The Hustisford High School team came in first with a running time of 49 minutes and 31 seconds. The engine was modified by junior Evan Pahl and seniors Justin Greget, Brett Hildebrandt, Darin Key and John Wiza. Their technical education instructor, Kyle Bliefernicht, said the Endurance Challenge gives students experience in problem solving. “They learn about being able to fix a problem and finding the best way to fix it,” he said.


Pahl said the team’s modifications included adding weight to the fly wheel and adjusting the timing, and that participating in the competition as a team “helps with communication skills.”


In addition to having fun working with friends on the project, Wiza said it “helps you learn about making engines more efficient, and about trial and error.”


Coming in second with 32 minutes and 20 seconds were Oshkosh West High School junior Trevor Vandermalen and seniors Kyle McGuire, Sean Rimbey and Vinnie Studt. Instructor Mark Boushele said the competition teaches his students about applied science, physics, math and mechanical design all in one activity, as well as recognizing the interrelationship among those disciplines. “It’s an opportunity to learn and to demonstrate communication skills,” he said, “and explain to their peers their thoughts and ideas.”


The team from Oshkosh North High School came in third at 31 minutes and 20 seconds. Juniors Pavel Ford, Austin Kuester, Nick Sonnleitner and Blake Van Asten were accompanied by technical education instructor Bill Benson. The competition teaches “everything STEM,” said Benson, referring to science, technology, engineering and math.


Taking fourth place at 22:19 was the Fond du Lac High School team of seniors Jesse Knueppel, Brennan Nieskes, Alex Schaefer and Mark Stoffel, accompanied by auto instructor Cory Clark. “They did a lot of research on engine performance,” said Clark.


“It’s fun and interesting, and you learn a lot about small engines,” said Nieskes.


In fifth place with 20:38 was Germantown’s team of junior Devin Bauerle and seniors Aaron Drost, Andrew Klumb, Zack Knight, Jake Schowalter and Mike Trupp, along with auto tech instructor Luke Lechner.


Kewaskum students Joe Beder, a sophomore, and Jake Ekker, Zach Esselmann, Trevor Kohn and Taylor Russell, all seniors, came in sixth at 19:22. They were accompanied by technical education instructor Bryan Puls. Both Ekker and Kohn said it was fun taking apart an engine and seeing what makes it work.


The next run time of 13:56 was reached by the Sheboygan South team. Princeton and Sheboygan North also competed in this year’s event, placing eighth and ninth, respectively.


Each member of the winning team will receive a $250 Moraine Park scholarship if they enroll at the College. Other prizes were donated by Kohler Co., Briggs & Stratton, Snap-on and Moraine Park.


Fall 2010 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 Technician program instructor and competition coordinator, at 920-924-3299 or


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