The Cost of First Place

Alexis Burch, Writer

Break, turn and finish. There are certain mechanics required to finish an endurance race at the statewide Electric Vehicle Rally race for the engineering teams.

However, a miscalculation sent a metal framed go-kart, powered by car batteries, into seven members of the Hornet Engineering team on May 6. The injuries ranged from elbow scratches to sprains, resulting in several students taking trips to the hospital.

The team, along with junior Raney Singleton, had been watching from the pit, an area guarded with cones on the last curve of the track.

“The carts aren’t made for sharp turns, so the cart started sliding,” Singleton said. “When [the driver] slammed on his brakes, it was already too late, and he just steam-rolled all of us.”

When Singleton saw the go-kart coming toward him, his first instinct was to jump. The cart hit his ankle in the process.

“I had a really nice bruise on my ankle,” Singleton said. “I had crutches for a few days, but nothing was broken.”

Sophomore Dhyan Thacker suffered from an injured left foot. It was run over. For several days, he walked with a limp, but suffered no severe or long term damage.

“There wasn’t really a thought of what happened,” Thacker said. “I was more focused on [watching our driver], and then boom, we got hit.”

A missed turn and a metal bar did not mix well for sophomore Zack Curry. The collision with his body bent the metal bar backwards, resulting in road rash on his ribs on the right side, a bruise on the hip and a trip to the hospital.

“They gave me a shot of morphine right when I got [to the hospital] to calm down the pain and gave me 10 or 15 x-rays, two CT scans and then blood work,” Curry said. “[I was there] for about 5 hours.”

For Curry, nothing beat the pain of not knowing what had happened to his fellow teammates.

“It didn’t really affect me much,” Curry said. “I just wanted to see how the others guys were that got hit.”

The Hornet Engineering Team received first place, but that was not the most important thing on everyone’s mind. To Thacker, the accident forced the team to grow closer.

“We’re more careful over all,” Thacker said. “We all care for each other more and look out for stuff that could affect us like this again.”

For more engineering coverage, check out the Hornet Engineering website here.