ISU Flying Sycamores compete in 2021 Air Race Derby

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Evelyn Reed, Nia Spillar and Rachel Miller planned their air routes for months in hopes of winning this year’s Air Race Derby.

The girls completed five 65 nautical mile legs across northern Illinois and back to Terre Haute. The Air Race Classic, which is normally a 2,400 mile cross-country race, was cancelled twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reed said they were excited to have a chance to show off their skills.

“Last year was going to be the first time that I competed in the air race classic,” she said. “So this year is my first year competing in it. It’s a different because it’s an air race air derby. But I’m really excited to be apart of it and have the experience. I’m looking forward to next year where I’m hopefully apart of the team as well, just because of the amazing connections and the relationships that are formed between other racers in a typical year.”

This year’s race is the second time both Spillar and Miller have competed. Spillar said after having mechanical issues in the 2019 race, she has high hopes for their scores.

“I just had such a fun time in 2019,  that I was just excited to try it again,” Spillar said. “It’s a little bit different this year but we still get the team experience and putting everything that we’ve learned in class to use. So that’s been really rewarding.”

The girls were given two weeks to complete the race after planning their routes. Miller said even though the air race took on a different format, it was still a good experience.

“I raced as a teammate two years ago,” she said. “We got weathered out of several of our legs due to weather. We only completed three legs that year. This was really exciting for me this year just because I finally got to do a whole race and complete it and not have weather be a deterrent.”

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