SIU Female Aviators Shine in 2021 Air Race Classic

Two teams representing Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Aviation finished in the top 10 in the 2021 Air Race Classic, the only women’s air race in the nation.

The Saluki Dawgs team of pilot Meadow Boden and co-pilot Rachel Piacentini finished sixth overall and second among college teams competing. The Saluki Sky Surfers team of pilot Vernecelyn Allen and co-pilot Abby Lee were ninth overall and third among college teams. The Saluki Aces team of pilot Sophie Ottoson and co-pilot Gabrielle Escudero, were 27th overall and ninth among college teams.

Ken Bro, the aviation program’s chief flight instructor, and program coordinator was pleased with the teams’ hard work and effort. This is the sixth year SIU has had at least one team compete in the event.
“We are so proud of these ladies’ accomplishments — this was an incredible competition, with a number of great pilots,” he said. “In a finish that came down to literal fractions of a second, and a very small margin of error, our teams did a phenomenal job. With such great rankings at the college and national levels, these Saluki competitors represented us in amazing fashion.”

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