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GHS Solar Car Team Wins First Place in 2016 National Solar Car Challenge

This week, the Greenville High School Solar Car Team, the Iron Lions, competed in the National Solar Car Challenge that raced from Texas Motor Speedway to Mendota Heights, Minn. The team finished in first place, logging approximately 671.1 miles to be named national champions with a 121 mile lead over their other competitors. “I can’t think of a word to sum up this race,” said Solar Car mentor and teacher at GHS, Joel Pitts. “It was definitely a challenge. The car wasn’t completely stable until the third day of the race so the students really had to troubleshoot during the first few days,” he said. “Once that was done, we were able to coast from there. The students’ ability to strategize was absolutely what allowed us to win,” said Pitts. In addition to their first place win, the Iron Lions were awarded four consecutive “day trophies”, given each day to the team that logs the most miles. “The team came together and decided to award two of our day trophies to teams that are newcomers to the competition this year, but who were working exceptionally hard,” said Solar Car mentor and teacher at GHS, George Kroncke. “It was really touching because there was a team that did that for us our first year of the competition and it really meant a lot. It was cool to see that reciprocated by our students.” “This is a team with exceptional focus, determination and sportsmanship,” said Pitts. “There were several times, when we stopped, that another team needed help and our kids jumped right in to help weld parts and do whatever was needed for them to continue the race. This isn’t just a race of competition; it’s a race of cooperation,” he said. Representing that spirit of cooperation, Ty White and Anakin Settle were both chosen as two of only eight Solar Car Hall Of Fame inductees this year. Inductees are chosen from among solar car teams nationwide. Only those who truly “embody the spirit of the Solar Car Challenge” are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Solar Car team members include Rachel Royall, Kelly Long, Nick Achterberg, Francesca Williams, Ty White, Ian Dickeson, Anakin Settle, Jacob Honeycutt, Tyler Behrens, Logan Wood and Matthew Claude. Solar Car mentors are Greenville ISD employees Joel Pitts, George Kroncke, Lucas Kiowski and Jennifer Kiowski. Sponsors of the Iron Lions are L3 Mission Integration, Farmers Electric Coop, Henley Auto, HunTex Properties, and White Eagle Waste Water Systems. The Solar Car program at GHS has progressed rapidly since its inception in 2011. The team competed in their first race in 2012 at Texas Motor Speedway and placed seventh in the classic division with a total of 241.5 miles. In 2013, the team won second place in the classic division with a total of 607.1 miles in a cross-country race from Fort Worth to Los Angeles. In 2014, the Iron Lions placed third in the classic division with a total of 391.5 miles in a hybrid race that included two days on the track at Texas Motor Speedway and a two day race from Fort Worth to Austin. In 2015, the team competed in two divisions with two cars at Texas Motor Speedway. They placed sixth in the classic division, and third in the electric-solar division. The Iron Lions have also won several other awards during the course of their competitions, including the Sportsmanship Award, Computer Design Award, and Engineering Excellence Award. The Iron Lions are coached by Joel Pitts, Lucas Kiowski and George Kroncke. For more information about the GHS Iron Lions, visit For more information about the solar car challenge, visit