Owen Middle students compete in Gravity Games

Richard Babb and Cindy Sturdivant
Special to Black Mountain News

Recently Owen Middle School sent two teams to compete in the fifth annual N.C. Gravity Games in Lenoir.

The games are a joint venture between the N.C. Science Festival, Google and Appalachian State University.

Sixty-five teams from across the state participated in either kit or in the engineered competition.

"The OMS Gravity Games experience was a unique opportunity for our son, William, to learn practical applications of science and math in making his team's car," parent Margaret Hurt said. "It combined teamwork and leadership skills in working in a small group."

The OMS teams built their cars from Soap Box Derby car kits made possible through grants from the Buncombe County Schools Foundation and the N.C. Science Festival.

The OMS Gravity Games teams were chosen from students who competed in the local gravity games.

"We got to learn how to use new tools when we built the car," , seventh-grade student Julian Swoap said. "We had lots of troubleshooting. If we messed something up, we had to figure out how to redo it."

Team members were Swoap, Sofia Swoap, Nate Senna, William Hurt, Sebastian Brunner, Laila Burk, Allison Chasteen, Addison Fox, Kimberly Taylor, Amber Wilson, Quin Ho, Samara McKnight, Natasha Lucininia, Hunter Wonson and Jacob Wilson.

Out of 49 kit cars racing in the first, timed heat, the OMS Gray Team car placed 21st and the OMS Maroon Team car placed fifth. In the second heat, both teams narrowly lot their raced by .5 seconds. Students met before and after school to work on building and painting their car.

Special thanks to the following sponsors for the monetary donations which helped fund T-shirts for the team and the trip to Lenoir: Town Hardware, Good Help of Asheville, Hurt Architecture, Wonson Construction, B&D Seal Coating, as well as Barbara Bell, who sponsored the car in honor of Loving Food Resources Food Pantry.

Also, thanks to Sherwin Williams Paint in Black Mountain for its donation of paint and paint supplies.

Cindy Sturdivant and Richard Babb served as faculty sponsors for the project.