Despite unexpected challenges, such as a canoe that cracked in half, the University of Evansville's Concrete Canoe team earned 12th place overall in the American Society of Civil Engineers National Concrete Canoe Competition — the team's second highest finish in its 12-year history.
The 25th annual competition took place June 14-16 at the University of Nevada, Reno. Twenty-two teams from some of the top engineering schools in the United States and Canada competed and were judged on the design, construction, innovative features, and racing ability of each concrete canoe.
UE's 17-member team finished seventh in the technical paper category, 10th in oral presentation, 13th in the races, and 12th overall. UE was the smallest school and the only private American university that qualified for the competition.
One harrowing moment came before the last race on Saturday, when UE's purple and gray canoe, Tempest (measuring 20 feet long and weighing 250 pounds) cracked in half as team members climbed in.
Thanks to help from several other universities' Concrete Canoe teams and plenty of duct tape, Tempest was patched up in time for the Aces to complete their final race.
"This year, our students not only proved that they can excel in the academic and athletic portions of the competition, but also that they can think and act quickly to solve problems," said Mark Valenzuela, UE associate professor of civil engineering and the team's faculty advisor. "I'm so proud of their hard work and dedication, and know this experience will serve them well in their future careers as civil engineers."
Last year, UE hosted the National Concrete Canoe Competition and was the smallest school ever invited to do so. This year marks the third time in the past four years that UE has qualified for nationals.
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