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Playin' in the mud: Baja teams battle it out

May 29, 2011 12:00AM

The PSU entry clears an obstacle on the suspension track Saturday.

Almost all kids love to play in the mud. The all-female team from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida competing Saturday at the Baja SAE Kansas competition at Pittsburg State University said that goes double for girls.

More than 1,100 competitors slogged through some of the most spectacular mud they'll ever see on Saturday, thanks to rain Friday on top of already saturated grounds. The water and mud didn't seem to hamper the competition, though. In fact, the competitors said, mud is not only expected, it's part of what makes the event fun.

"I had some people ask whether there was going to be mud on the track," Bruce Dallman, dean of the PSU College of Technology said Friday. "I told them I could pretty much guarantee them there would be mud."

The female team from Florida said they enjoy the mud, the work and the competitive nature of the event as much as any of the guys. True to their word, they finished a treacherous Suspension Course that had frustrated many other teams.

All day, the teams rotated between courses that tested suspension, maneuverability, acceleration and power.

Late in the afternoon, a tired and muddy team from Rochester, N.Y., stretched out on the pavement of the parking lot at the Bicknell Sports Complex.

"How'd we do? Well, we didn't break anything," one of them said with a weary smile.

On Sunday, the event wraps up with the event all of the teams have been waiting for, the endurance race. The race begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 1 p.m.

©2011 Pittsburg State University