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Sam Penrod, KSL TV

BYU engineering students offered $1,000 prize to fix glare on softball field

By Sam Penrod, KSL TV | Posted - Mar. 21, 2019 at 8:14 a.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

PROVO — While we are all enjoying the spring weather, it complicates things for the BYU softball team when they play at home. Now BYU is looking to some of its brightest minds to solve a problem with the sun.

It has been a problem for years at the BYU softball field.

The glare from the sun has been so intense, they’ve had to pause the games for up to 20 minutes in the late afternoon and evening.

“I played baseball and softball in high school,” said McKenna Cook, a manufacturing engineering student at BYU. She is pitching her idea to solve a problem on the Cougar softball field.

“I injured my finger because I couldn’t see the ball once because the sun was in my eyes, so I think this situation is near and dear to my heart,” she said

While the ideas weren’t open for others to hear, a team of students shared their simple fix to block the sun over the left field fence.

“It is lifted by cables. It will expand as the cables lift it vertically, and collapse into a storage box,” said Kenny Seymour, who offered one idea. Unlike some of the other ideas that require construction, Seymour said theirs is portable.

“They gave us a $40,000 budget, and with this easy solution we think we could develop and make it for $3,000,” Jacob Sheffield said.

Athletic director Tom Holmoe, who is one of the judges to evaluate the student ideas for the $1,000 prize, joked that they've thought about creating a solution, "but athletic minds aren’t that bright.”

He said the idea of turning to their own students on campus to solve the glare problem just makes sense.

“So let’s just turn to them, and between all these great minds and creativity we are going to come up with something good,” Holmoe said.

The judges will select three finalists, who will be able to expand their plans for the final competition. A winner will be decided on April 10.

Sam Penrod

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