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April 24, 2013
By Mike Wolterbeek
After dominating the competition in five canoe races and winning two of three academic categories, the University of Nevada, Reno concrete canoe team took the overall win in the annual Mid-Pac Concrete Canoe Competition held April 19-20 in San Jose, Calif.
The Nevada teams paddled their sleek, highly-engineered 140-pound canoe to beat out second place California State University, Sacramento and third place University of California, Berkeley - both tough competitors who have also earned berths at the national competition in past years. This year's Mid-Pac competition featured seven universities from California.
The win earns the Nevada students an eighth trip in eight years to the national competition June 20-22 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The competition is an American Society of Civil Engineers annual event.
The 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 - the design and construction takes months, along with the physical training and academic preparation.
"This is a great accomplishment by itself and the consistency and continuity of success is an even greater achievement," said University of Nevada, Reno College of Engineering Dean Manos Maragakis. "It is definitely consistent with our College's commitment to excellence and national recognition and its vision to "make a world of difference." I cannot be more proud of our students and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering."
On the water, the students took first place in the men's endurance, women's endurance, men's sprint, women's sprint and coed sprint. In the academic portion, they took first place in product development and design paper and third place in the presentation category.
"Our team's consistency in winning at the regional and national levels is a clear result of the dedication of our outstanding students," said Amy Childress, professor and chair of the University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "In addition to strong student leadership, our student chapter is supported by faculty advisors and local alumni who remain committed to our chapter and the concrete canoe program."
The regional competition included teams from University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Davis; California State University, Chico; California State University, Fresno; California State University, Sacramento; San Jose State University; Tongji University and the University of Nevada, Reno.
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. U.S. News and World Report just announced its new college rankings and the College of Engineering did very well, with civil engineering in the top 50 in the nation and environmental engineering in the top 100.