SDC wins both men’s and women’s races in 98th Buggy

Marika Yang Apr 23, 2017

On Friday and Saturday, a fundamental Carnegie Mellon tradition continued, as student organizations competed in the 98th edition of Buggy, formally known as Sweepstakes.

The race around Tech and Frew streets was dominated by the Student Dormitory Council (SDC), with both its men’s A and women’s A teams taking the victory while shattering records on both days of competition. On the men’s side, SDC extended its winning streak to six years, and on the women’s side, SDC retook the title after two years of Carnegie Involvement Association (CIA) victories.

The preliminary heats began on Friday morning with perfect weather conditions for racing. In addition to SDC’s stellar performances by men’s A and women’s A teams, three of SDC’s teams (A, B, and C) in both competitions qualified for the finals, repeating the same success from last year’s races.

Teams from Pi Kappa Alpha (PiKA), Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp), Phi Delta Theta (PhiDelt), CIA, Fringe, and Apex made the 12-team women’s final, while teams from PiKA, SigEp, CIA, Fringe, and SPIRIT made the 10-team men’s final. Like SDC, Fringe had its A, B, and C teams make the women’s final. Fringe was less than a second off from sending its fourth and final team, D, to the final races. Two teams from Apex also made the final. For the men’s competition, PiKA and CIA sent two teams along with SDC’s three teams.

The Robobuggy also raced, clocking in a 3:18.90 time, 15 seconds faster than the previous year’s mark.

On Saturday, the competition got off to a slow start due to rain delays, and several exhibition races were cancelled. The colder weather, and therefore, colder roads, usually leads to slower races, but several teams rose to the challenge to race faster than their preliminary times.

The first race of the women’s competition was between SigEp A and PhiDelt A. SigEp A established a quick lead at Hill 1, which it maintained throughout the race. SigEp A won the race with a time of 2:43.47, over a second slower than its preliminary time. PhiDelt, a relatively new organization to Buggy, saw its A team shave over four seconds from its preliminary time and break the organization’s record.

Next came Fringe A and Apex C, who both dropped significant time from their preliminary races. Fringe A won the race by a huge margin, clocking in at 2:38.06, three seconds faster than the previous day. Apex C dropped a huge six seconds, with the same pushers as the preliminary race, to establish a new organization record at 2:56.14.

The race between CIA A and Fringe C saw both teams perform very consistently with their times from Friday, only racing a couple tenths of a second faster. PiKA A went flying out of the gate on Hill 1 against Apex A, establishing a dominant lead. Both teams raced a bit slower than their preliminary times.

SDC A, which was disqualified in last year’s finals, came back with a vengeance, racing against Fringe B to break the record again at 2:23.27, 0.12 seconds faster than its preliminary time. Fringe B also bested its time from Friday, racing three seconds faster.

The men’s races were also a showcase of SDC dominance, but first, the organization’s B and C teams ran against each other. SDC B made some mistakes that led to a time over four seconds slower than the previous day’s time. SDC C also raced a slower time, adding 0.82 seconds to its time.

In the race between SigEp A and CIA B were improvements for both teams. The race of CIA A and PiKA B was the race of the day, the teams very close up until the fifth and final Hill. After starting close on Hill 1, PiKA B took a small lead in the freeroll. Coming out of the chute on Hill 3, the teams were side by side. PiKA B again took a small lead on Hill 4, looking to pull off a huge upset, but CIA A’s AJ Collins, pusher on Hill 5, exploded to push past PiKA B in the final seconds, winning by mere feet. Both teams actually raced slower than the previous day. Because CIA A had to use the brakes on the chute to stay out of PiKA B’s way, they were granted a reroll, cutting off four seconds from its time against PiKA B.

PiKA A and Fringe A raced next, with PiKA A getting ahead with a great transition between Hills 1 and 2. PiKA A raced over a second slower than in the preliminary heats, but still moved into first place. Fringe A raced a couple tenths faster than in the preliminary heats.

In the final race of the day, SDC A against SPIRIT A, SDC A was racing against its own record. The transitions made a big difference, and were the main sections where SDC A built on its lead. Racing against the dominant SDC A, SPIRIT A raced faster than on Friday, good enough for fourth place. SDC A raced around the 0.9-mile track in 2:02.16, breaking the record again, by 0.16 seconds.

Each year, all the teams aim to best their times from years past, and for several teams, especially SDC, this year was no exception. Buggy, a combination of design, technology, and athleticism, is a year-round event that is unique to Carnegie Mellon, a celebrated tradition that continues to thrive, year after year, drawing competitors new, to join the races, and old, who come back to campus to watch each year.