App challenge

Jake Derouin, left, and Zach Spares, center, demonstrate their app to U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minnesota, after winning the Minnesota Third Congressional District App Challenge.

Two Eden Prairie High School seniors won Minnesota’s Third Congressional District App Challenge, according to Sam Anderson, a spokesperson from U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips’ office.

Jake Derouin and Zach Spares created EPXC, a tool for cross-country runners to track their mileage and running, Anderson told Eden Prairie News. The duo were captains of the high school’s 2019 cross-country team, and their responsibility for organizing practices and tracking their teammates’ running over the summer inspired them to make the app, they wrote in their application to the challenge.

“Because of the sheer number of people we have attending summer practices, each with different circumstances, we had the idea of building an app for our team to alleviate some of the stress,” Spares and Derouin wrote. “We also created a way to keep track of running mileage digitally instead of in a paper book that can get lost, wet or ripped.”

The coders met Phillips, D-Minnesota, over the weekend of Dec. 7-8 to demonstrate how their app works and discuss how it could be scaled and marketed to other teams in Minnesota, according to Anderson.

The app will be featured on the Congressional App Challenge website, and Spares and Derouin are invited to participate in the House of Code conference for student coders in Washington, D.C. next year, Anderson said.

The judges for the competition were Casey Helbling, CEO of Software for Good; Dave Eisenmann, director of instructional technology and media for Minnetonka Public Schools; Madeline Burton, a computer science teacher at the Blake School; and Melissa Kjolsing, co-founder and CEO of Recoveree.