Four Auburn students set to participate in the epicenter of women's air racing

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Four Auburn students in teams of two are hoping to make history during the 43rd annual Air Race Classic. Considered the “epicenter of women's air racing,” the event will take place June 18-21 as teams of pilots travel 2,538 statute miles and make nine stops at timing points across the United States and Canada, including a June 18 stop in LaGrange, Georgia. Auburn University is one of only 15 universities competing in the 2019 race.

Students Sierra Hardwick and Mattie McKenna make up Auburn’s War Eagle Women, Blue team while Caitlyn Miller and Kendall Higdon make up the War Eagle Women, Orange team. Both teams will be flying a Cessna Skyhawk 172S, Nav III.

While Auburn has previously sent one team to the Air Race Classic, the university sent a second team this year thanks to the 163 donors who participated in Tiger Giving Day. The funds cover supply fuel, flight costs, food, lodging and training.

"It means a lot to us that people who might not even be connected to aviation chose to donate and help send us to the race," said Higdon.

This year's course begins in Jackson, Tennessee, and will take racers from the home of rockabilly and the blues in the American South across Midwestern farmlands and northward around the Great Lakes and across southern Ontario, ending near Niagara Falls.

“It’s exciting to bring an Auburn plane to Canada,” said Miller. “I don’t think that’s ever been done before.”

Along with the chance to win the Air Race Classic, the highest-scoring collegiate team has the chance to have their names engraved on the coveted Collegiate Challenge Trophy.

Auburn’s War Eagle Women team placed third collegiately last year and ninth overall (out of 77 teams).

"Sending two teams to the Air Race Classic shows how dedicated Auburn is to students. It also shows our commitment in preparing the next generation of pilots," said College of Liberal Arts Dean Joseph Aistrup.

The Auburn community can cheer on Auburn’s teams on June 18 at their first stop at LaGrange-Callaway Airport (KLGC). Auburn’s pilots are projected to land at KLGC between noon and 1 p.m. EST. Learn more about the pilots and follow them on the Air Race Classic route at

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The College of Liberal Arts is the intellectual heart of the university and one of the largest colleges on Auburn's campus. The College continues its long tradition of quality education, instruction, and outreach in a number of outstanding departments. The College of Liberal Arts is composed of the School of Communication and Journalism, the University College, and twelve departments which are divided into four academic areas: fine arts, humanities, communications, and social sciences. Our graduates hold a strong record of industry employment and/or acceptance into graduate schools and training programs, both here and abroad.