One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Cara Groves

In an era where electric cars are gaining more interest among U.S. consumers, there’s still a place for gas-powered vehicles. That’s why Cedarville University has built a car that could get up to 2,000 miles to a gallon, which it will test in the weekend’s Shell Eco-Marathon Americas competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The competition is from April 3-7. 

This year’s team of Cedarville University engineering students marks the 33rd consecutive year of students building and designing a supermileage car for the national competition. Last year’s team finished fourth as its car reached 1,355 miles per gallon.

This year’s Cedarville team hopes to surpass last year’s accomplishment and will be racing Carcharia-- the name of their fourth-generation supermileage car. Once the team arrives at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it will work through final preparations before taking its car to the Brickyard for practice laps. 

“Carcharias means shark in Greek and our car has a shark painted underneath the body to intimidate the competition,” said Dr. Larry Zavodney, senior professor of mechanical engineering and the faculty advisor.

The goal of the Shell competition is to create the most fuel-efficient car possible, not the fastest car on the track. This event is a unique way for students to think critically about how to conserve energy and create more efficient vehicles by blending multiple disciplines, including mechanical and electrical engineering with computer science

“At the competition, every team must finish four laps clocking a speed of at least 15 miles per hour before judges measure their car’s fuel consumption,” said Zavodney. “Our car is 45 times more powerful than it needs to be for normal operation, which allows us to quickly achieve a speed of 23 miles per hour before killing the engine and coasting for maximum fuel efficiency.”  

There are 36 students on the 2024 team and they are identified below by academic discipline:
Mechanical engineering majors include, senior, Jack Bloomer (Daneville, Indiana), juniors, Elisa Schmitt (Geneseo, Illinois) and William Anglin (San Antonio, Texas), sophomores, Evan Jackson (Georgetown, Kentucky), Jonathan Bowden (Liberty Township, Ohio), Sebastian Toledo (Ypsilanti, Michigan), Ethan Freeman (Buxton, Maine), Will Tenpas (Sun Prairie, Wisconsin), Josh Martus (Russellville, Ohio), Joni Collaku (Tirana, Albania) and Bryce Fenton (Pepperell, Massachusetts), freshman, Gavin Sims (Abilene, Texas), Kellan Goode (Cumming, Georgia), Victor McKoy (Pawleys Island, South Carolina), Adam Gorden (Frederick, Maryland), Scott Botzum (Indianapolis, Indiana), Matthew Colburn (Lithia, Florida), Henry Hedstrand (Monument, Colorado), Jeremy Contreras (Tecamachalco, Mexico), Ryan Strellman (Medford, Oregon), David Wollschlager (Fredericksburg, Virginia) and Matthew Gibbs (West Unity, Ohio). 

Electrical engineering majors are, sophomores, Logan Weathers (Ankeny, Iowa) and Hunter Hare (Middlebury, Connecticut), and freshman, Terry Mou (Oakwood, Ohio), Jared O'Halloran (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) and Matthew Bonifield (Kettering, Ohio). Computer science majors are, junior Seth Burkey (Alexandria, Ohio), and sophomores, Zaine Fletcher (Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania) and Joel Craig (Tyrone, Pennsylvania). 

Computer engineering majors include, juniors, Caleb Willson (Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania) and Arkin Solomon (McKinney, Texas), and freshman, Vincent Szymkowiak (Anchorage, Alaska) and Kieran Dempsey (Flagstaff, Arizona). 

The lone civil engineering major is freshman, Ruth Poulin (Zumbrota, Minnesota), and the industrial and innovative design major on the team is freshman Nathaniel Lowry (Allison Park, Pennsylvania).


Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is a Baptist university with undergraduate programs in arts, sciences, and professional programs, and graduate programs. With an enrollment of 5,456 students in 175 areas of study, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio and is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, such as the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and high graduation and retention rates. For more information about the university, visit   

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