University to host 25th Annual National Concrete Canoe Competition

Civil engineering students bring event to Reno/Sparks in 2012

6/3/2011 - By: Mike Wolterbeek
2010 national concrete canoe competition The University of Nevada, Reno’s men’s team paddles in one of the races at the 2010 national Concrete Canoe Competition in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Photo by Phil Klein, courtesy of ASCE.

The University of Nevada, Reno has been selected to host the American Society of Civil Engineer’s 25th Annual National Concrete Canoe Competition in 2012.

“This is a great honor for Nevada and the University,” Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering said of the event known as the “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering”. “It shows the dedication of our students, with strong administration support, to bring this high-caliber event to Reno.”

Engineering students representing universities from around the United States and Canada will travel with their concrete canoes to Reno/Sparks next year for the event that mixes engineering skills with paddling power. Two dozen teams will come for the event that is scheduled for June 14-16, 2012.

The idea for hosting the nationals came after the Nevada Concrete Canoe Team, made up of mostly civil engineering students in the local ASCE chapter, hosted the Mid-Pacific Student Conference in 2009 that included teams from 12 schools in northern California and Nevada.

“We were very impressed with the organization, enthusiasm and support that we saw from students, faculty, staff and administration during the site visit and know that UNR will do a fantastic job in hosting this important event,” Ping Wei, Director of Educational Activates for ASCE, said.

The news comes as the University team prepares for their sixth appearance in a row at the national competition, this year to be held in Evansville, Ind., June 16-18. They qualified for nationals by placing first in the conference event, one of 18 around the country and Canada, which was held in Sacramento, Calif. in April.

The team has had top-10 finishes in the past five years: second place last year; fifth place in 2009; first place in 2008; third place in 2007 and sixth place in 2006. The competition includes equal points for engineering design and construction, technical design report, formal business presentation and a set of five canoe races.

“For the past five years, our team of students has performed among the highest in all areas of the competition,” Amy Childress, chair of the civil engineering department, said. “They have represented our school with great enthusiasm and integrity.”

More than 250 teams of civil engineering students log thousands of hours researching, designing and building their concrete canoes. The winners from the conference competitions held each spring qualify for the national competition.

“The concrete canoe team’s sustained success over the last five years has been amazing,” David Sanders, civil engineering department member and faculty advisor for the concrete canoe team, said. “I am extremely proud and excited that we’re going to nationals again this year, and that they’re coming to us next year.”

Organized by ASCE, the National Concrete Canoe Competition is made possible by the generous support of sponsors from across the concrete construction industry and the civil engineering community.

The ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition provides students with a practical application of the engineering principles they learn in the classroom, along with important team and project management skills they will need in their careers. The event challenges the students' knowledge, creativity and stamina, while showcasing the versatility and durability of concrete as a building material.


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