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WKU civil engineers win regional title; steel bridge qualifies for nationals

WKU civil engineering students placed first overall in the Ohio Valley Student Conference March 26-29 at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. A total of 14 colleges and universities competed in civil engineering events.

WKU students finished first in concrete horseshoe, concrete softball bat, balsa wood bridge, surveying and civil site design competitions.

Steel bridge team (from left): Matt Groves, Nicholas Miller, Chris Sivley, John Jacoby, Jacob Martin, Carson Joyce, Noufissa Chbihi and Dr. Shane Palmquist (team advisor).

Steel bridge team (from left): Matt Groves, Nicholas Miller, Chris Sivley, John Jacoby, Jacob Martin, Carson Joyce, Noufissa Chbihi and Dr. Shane Palmquist, team advisor.

Steel bridge competition

In the steel bridge competition, WKU finished third overall behind Youngstown State University and the University of Akron. The WKU steel bridge team will compete May 23-24 in the National Student Steel Bridge Competition at the University of Akron. The team placed first in construction speed and third in stiffness, structural efficiency, economy and display.

“The students worked hard and put a valiant effort in during the final weeks leading up to the competition, and this made all the difference,” said Dr. Shane Palmquist, steel bridge team advisor.

Steel bridge team members include team co-captains Jacob Martin of Shelbyville and John Jacoby of Paris; Carson Joyce and Chris Sivley, both of Hopkinsville; Nicholas Miller of Bowling Green; Sean Danehy of Libertyville, Ill.; Matt Groves of Greenville; and Noufissa Chbihi of North Haven, Conn.

Concrete canoe competition

Excalibur, WKU’s concrete canoe, was fast and light, with no additional flotation besides the concrete.

Excalibur, WKU’s concrete canoe, was fast and light, with no additional flotation besides the concrete.

In the concrete canoe competition, WKU finished second overall behind the University of Akron. The team placed first on final product and third on the canoe report and on the presentation. In canoe races, WKU finished first in men’s sprint, fourth in women’s sprint and second in coed sprint. Due to ice on the lake, the men’s and women’s endurance races could not be held this year.

Professor Matthew Dettman, concrete canoe team advisor, said: “The Ohio Valley Region has become extremely competitive in the last few years and this team did an outstanding job. They finished first in final product which means they built an outstanding canoe. With a little improvement in the other areas of the competition we have a great shot at getting back on top next year.”

Concrete canoe team members include team co-captains Tyler Sheffield of Dry Ridge and Michael Simpson of Park City; Garrett Owen and Miles Puckett, both of Livermore; Jeremiah Baxley of Hartford; Megan Jones of Glasgow; Bradley New of Monticello; Brett Rice of Lexington; Colby Osborne of Brentwood, Tenn.; Caitlin Young of Fordsville; Jordan Keeney of Somerset; Justin Jernigan of Portland, Tenn.; Trevor King of Derby, Ind.; Alex Sutton of Mount Sterling; David Garvin of Lewisport; and Danny Hughes of Bowling Green.

Concrete horseshoe competition

In the concrete horseshoe competition, WKU finished first. Team members include Kent Jones of Somerset and Lucas Guinn of Monticello. The competition was to construct a reinforced concrete horseshoe and play a game of horseshoes. Horseshoe aesthetics was also part of the competition.

Concrete bat team members (from left): Justin Hopkins, Ben Mullins and Dylan Jones.

Concrete bat team members (from left): Justin Hopkins, Ben Mullins and Dylan Jones.

Concrete softball bat competition

In the concrete softball bat competition, WKU finished first. Team members include Ben Mullins of Waynesburg, Justin Hopkins of Russellville and Dylan Jones of Berea. The competition was to fabricate a lightweight reinforced concrete bat capable of hitting a ball the longest distance while still remaining intact.

Balsa wood bridge competition

In the balsa wood bridge competition, WKU’s team of Raymond Van Zee of Russellville and Blake (Adam) Adams of Monticello finished first for the second year in a row. Dr. Warren Campbell, team advisor, said: “In a field of 12 bridges, the closest competitor’s bridge held 20 pounds while WKU’s bridge held 60.4 pounds. It was epic! Our guys were amazing.”

Surveying team members (from left): Kent Jones, Kyle Parks, Matt Groves, Ben Mullins and Justin Hopkins. Not pictured: Dylan Jones.

Surveying team members (from left): Kent Jones, Kyle Parks, Matt Groves, Ben Mullins and Justin Hopkins. Not pictured: Dylan Jones.

Surveying competition

In the surveying competition, WKU finished first. Team members include Matt Groves of Greenville, Kent Jones of Somerset, Dylan Jones of Berea, Kyle Parks of Bloomfield, Ben Mullins of Waynesburg and Justin Hopkins of Russellville. Dr. Ronald Gallagher, team advisor, said this year’s competition involved turning angles using an instrument, pacing and taking elevations.

Civil site design competition

In the civil site design competition, WKU’s Kyle Parks of Bloomfield finished first. The competition was to create a design for an interstate rest stop in AutoCAD according to the specifications provided. An original design was submitted then a change order had to be incorporated on the day of the competition. Judging was based on quality of design, accuracy and detail, speed, and the process used to create the layout and drawing.

Environmental engineering competition

In the environmental engineering competition, Michael Pickett of Radcliff participated. The competition was to create a filtration device to remove contaminants from a water sample. The teams were judged on the design poster, cost, construction speed, design, and effluent water quality.

Technical paper competition

In the technical paper competition, Brett Rice of Lexington participated. The competition involved writing a paper and giving a professional presentation on a civil engineering topic. The topic this year was civil engineers’ responsibilities during a natural disaster.

In addition to WKU’s Department of Engineering, participating schools were Akron, Carnegie Mellon, Cincinnati, Cincinnati State, Cleveland State, Dayton, Geneva College, Louisville, Kentucky, Ohio, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Youngstown State.

The 2015 Ohio Valley Student Conference will be held at the University of Cincinnati.

Contact: Department of Engineering, (270) 745-2461.

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