The University of Nevada, Reno concrete canoe team battled rainstorms, lightning and competitors from 22 other colleges and universities to take home a second-place finish at the National Concrete Canoe Competition on Saturday.
"I am very proud of this team and its consistent accomplishments," said Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering. "They exemplify dedication, national competitiveness, consistency and achievement."
The competition brought regional winners from around the U.S. and Canada together to test how well their canoes, which were engineered with specially designed concrete mixtures, fared both on and off the water.
The Nevada team paddled their sleek, highly-engineered 140-pound canoe to a first place finish in the regional competition in April to earn their spot at the national competition.
This is the canoe team's eighth trip in eight years to the national competition, which is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, or ASCE, and was held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
This year's competition was cut short due to rain and lightning, which prevented three of the sprint races from being completed. Team scores are made up of four equal parts: design and construction, technical paper, oral presentation, and performance in five different race events.
The Nevada team took first place in the technical paper portion of the competition, second place in both the men and women's endurance races, fourth in the presentation, and seventh in design and construction. Their overall second place finish includes a $2,500 award for the team's ASCE student chapter and a trophy.
The overall winner this year was École de technologie supérieure, from Montreal. That team will receive a $5,000 scholarship and trophy. The University of Florida, defending champ California Polytechnic State University and Utah State University rounded out the top five.
Nevada has claimed a top-five finish every year since 2007, and the team won the national competition in 2008.
"This is another chapter in a remarkable legacy of excellence," said Provost Kevin Carman.
The engineering design process behind the canoes begins early in the fall, and teams spend thousands of hours throughout the year developing and testing everything from the concrete mix to the shape of the hull.
The competition's goal is to give civil engineering students hands-on experience working with concrete - one of the world's most common building materials - and to increase public awareness about civil engineering as a dynamic and innovative field.
The national event is a three-day competition, hosted by an ASCE student organization. Last year, the event was hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno, with races being held at the Sparks Marina.
The University of Nevada, Reno College of Engineering has internationally and nationally acclaimed programs with departments in several engineering disciplines. The College has graduated more than 1,500 engineering students in the past five years. In the most recent U.S. News and World Report rankings, the College of Engineering did very well, with civil engineering in the top 50 in the nation and environmental engineering in the top 100.