Nikia Chapman: Queen of speed

Nikia Chapman after her first-place win in the women’s drag race last year in Toole, Utah. Photos by Bob Phelan

Stats:  sophomore in geological engineering from Columbia, Mo.

Member of:  Spelunking Club and Human-Powered Vehicle Team

Chapman with her lucky socks.

Claim to fame:  Led the Human-Powered Vehicle team to a first-place win last year in ASME’s Human-Powered Vehicle Competition in Toole, Utah, took first place in the women’s drag race and rode the four required “female laps” of the endurance race.

Why HPV:  I was asked to join because they were looking for a girl rider and I agreed because it sounded like fun — a good way to get involved in something that would look good on a resume. I like the competitive aspect of the race. I’ve never been on a sports team so this is the first time I’ve ever been in something this competitive. It’s also a good way to challenge myself on a physical level.

Battle scars:  In a competition in Pennsylvania, I took a few spills in the endurance race. One happened when another team’s bike ran into me. The crashes resulted in multiple large holes in my jersey and leggings. The EMT had to cut my Under Armor shirt sleeve off because my arm had swelled up too large to get the sleeve over it. I have a fairly large scar from this. This stopped me from completing the number of laps required by a female rider, but a girl from one of our competitors — Rose-Hulman — completed the laps for me.

Good luck charm:  Chapman competes wearing red Elmo socks.

By Mary Helen Stoltz

Read about the team’s performance in April.


This story was originally published in Missouri S&T Magazine.

Read additional stories from the Fall /Winter 2012 issue.


  1. Bob Stevens says

    Way to go, Nikia! I enjoyed chatting with you at the open house in April. You are a winner.