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Solar Splash is Back: Cedarville Wins Endurance Competition, Places Second Overall

by Mark Weinstein, Executive Director of Public Relations

Dr. Gerry Brown and Dr. Tim Dewhurst working on the solar boat with two studentsCedarville University's five-year winning streak came to an end in the 27th annual World Solar Splash competition as the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez claimed the 2021 title from Cedarville. The four-day competition, held at Champion Lake in Springfield June 8-12, featured boats from nine U.S.-based colleges and universities. Cedarville has won the competition in 12 of the 27 years.

The University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPR) team was impressive from the start, claiming perfect scores in the speed and slalom events en route to its first championship in school history. UPR, which finished second to Cedarville in 2019 by just 1.56 points, returned in 2021 and scored 954 points out of 1000 to take 1st place in the competition and receive the George Ettenheim Memorial World Championship Trophy. The Puerto Rico boat proved to be the fastest in the sprint event and finished the 300-meter championship heat in 23.04 seconds.

The defending champion Cedarville University team finished second overall with 832 points. Cedarville's boat won the endurance competition by completing 76.75 laps on the 615-meter course for a total of 47.2 kilometers (29.3 miles) in the four-hour competition. The University of New Mexico team finished in 3rd place. The team from Cedarville was awarded the Sportsmanship Award.

Solar Splash is a sanctioned American Power Boat Association event. Solar Splash 2020, which was to be held in Springfield last June, had to be canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions, breaking a 26-year run of annual events. With the beginning of college terms in the fall of 2020, teams began to prepare for 2021 not knowing how or if the event would be held. University rules required some teams to work remotely on their projects. Most teams cited limited lab and workshop time as additional challenges. Even as COVID restrictions in some areas were being lifted, some schools were still hesitant to allow student travel.  

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering program, strong graduation, and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit

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