"Each year we have been getting better, learning for our competition."
—Michael Werner, the team faculty adviser
The competition pits high schools and colleges against each other as they work to build the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible in a variety of categories.
The winner is determined by the amount of fuel used on a 10-lap course that must be completed within 24 minutes. The team must learn when to hit the gas and when to coast for best mileage.
"Since we won first place last year, there's a lot of pressure on our shoulders."
—Madeline Diseth, Shop Girls manager
This year's Shop Girls are a new batch of students, led by freshman manager Madeline Diseth.
Their carbon-fiber car looks similar to an aerodynamic three-wheel racer, with a $1,600 fuel-efficient diesel engine.
The Shop Girls hope to beat last year's record of 1,115 miles per gallon. “Being a small rural town and being recognized in the world for being an all-girls team, it feels really good," Michael Werner, the team's faculty adviser, said.
Former team members have continued into science, technology, engineering and math-related careers and gone on to study at colleges like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University.
Werner was also recognized as Regional Teacher of the Year for his work with the team. “It’s just tremendous what we’ve learned, all of us, everyone involved, not just the students,” he said.
This year’s Shell Eco-Marathon will take place on April 27-30 in Detroit.