Winners of 2nd annual SAFR Challenge announced

The Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation (E+I) and the Department of Physics at Grove City College announced the winners of the second annual SAFR Challenge, which tests students’ skills in physics innovation.

The SAFR (Strain and Force Reduction) Challenge tasked teams of students with developing and building a headband to reduce the prevalence of concussions in collegiate soccer players. The challenge began last year as a lab exercise in Physics Professor Dr. Shane Brower’s Fundamentals of the Universe class at Grove City College and is now in its second year as an on-stage pitch competition, allowing students to use their classroom learning to solve real world problems.

This year’s initial phase of the challenge took place in a lab overseen by Brower and fellow Physics Professor Dr. Glenn Marsch. The second phase was the collaboration with E+I, which elevates the impact of the lab by providing students with an opportunity to present their final product in a public forum to qualified experts in soccer and exercise science. E+I exists to provide students of all majors with practical skills and hands-on experiences that prepare them to innovate and succeed in their chosen field. 

Fifty-six students in the initial phase of the competition were split into nineteen teams. Their headbands were judged on a combination of criteria including cost, comfort, aesthetics, functionality, and their overall marketing pitch. The top seven teams qualified for the final round.

The finalists faced off on Oct. 26 and were judged by Dr. Jeffrey Buxton, Exercise Science; Grove City High School boys’ soccer coach James Irani; and Grove City High School girls’ coach Darcie Holmes.

“E+I once again organized an exciting event showcasing our students’ creative abilities. The competition was even stronger this year because students had access to the recording of last year's event – they knew what went into a winning presentation, and they did their best to include these elements,” Brower said.

The winning teams were:

  • First Place ($100 each) – Kare Guard: Eden Kleiman ’24, Aiden Kramer ’24, Annie-Grace Smith ’24
  • Second Place ($75 each) – Use Your Head: Jaden Davinsizer ’25, Jonathan McGee ’24, Rilee Smith ’25
  • Third Place ($50 each) – Sports Halo: Trevor Beck ’24, Justin DeMild ’24, Jaden White ’25

“Collaborating with Dr. Brower and the Physics Department has been a real treat for us at the Center for E+I,” said Logan Hammerschmitt ‘16, campus director for E+I. “The hands-on learning opportunities we provide to student participants have proven valuable and demonstrate our mission to serve students of all majors across campus.”

For more about E+I and to watch a recording of the SAFR Challenge, visit For more about Physics at Grove City College, visit

Winners of 2nd annual SAFR Challenge announced

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