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Jacksonville University students take top honors at Air Race Classic

July 13, 2011, 08:37 am

In what would end up being a weather-shortened race, the women's long-distance Air Race Classic competition was won by Jacksonville University senior Leah Hentzel and recent graduate Sarah Morris, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

The race was originally scheduled to begin in Iowa City, Iowa, but due to thunderstorms and difficult conditions, it was moved to Alliance, Nebraska, possibly reducing the risk of unnecessary pilots life insurance claims. Competing aircraft crossed the finish line in Mobile, Alabama, making the course almost half of its normal 2,400-nautical-miles.

The race is handicapped based on each aircraft's performance, so the winners did not necessarily have to be the first across the finish line. The college team was said to have put in an exceptionally strong first leg of the race, which helped them soar to victory.

"They found a tailwind that nobody else found," last year's winner Terry Carbonell, whose team placed fourteenth in this year’s race, told the media outlet. "They just had such an amazing first leg."

It is rare that a collegiate team takes the victory in this competition. 

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