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Concrete canoe team finishes 4th in national competition

WKU civil engineering students finished fourth overall last weekend in the 2016 Concrete Canoe National Competition.

WKU's concrete canoe team finished fourth in the 2016 national competition.

WKU’s concrete canoe team finished fourth in the 2016 national competition.

The finish equaled the concrete canoe team’s best ever in the national competition. WKU also finished fourth in 2002 and 2007.

WKU’s Bar-B-Qrete finished third in oral presentation, third in design paper, fifth in final product and ninth in race points during the June 9-11 competition at the University of Texas at Tyler.

The overall top five finishers were École de technologie supérieure, Montreal; University of  California, Los Angeles; University of  Nevada, Reno; WKU; and University of  Wisconsin-Madison.

“At the national competition we had to be our absolute best to achieve our goal of a top 10 finish,” said Professor Matthew Dettman, faculty advisor. “The oral presentation team delivered an amazing presentation. The design paper was as fine a technical document as we could produce, and our paddlers did an outstanding job to get us some points on the water. Exceeding all expectations they delivered an amazing fourth-place finish overall. I cannot say enough about this team. Not only did we build an outstanding canoe this year, we built a group of fine young engineers that WKU can be proud of.”

WKU participants in the 2016 National Concrete Canoe Competition included co-captains Kayla Frye of Nancy and David Miller of Louisville; Taylor Bowling of London; Jared Claiborne of Scottsville; Sean McCarty of Campbellsville; Jonathan Turner of Paducah; Trey Baston of Tompkinsville; Elizabeth Cardwell of Russellville; Mohammed Alajmi of Kuwait City, Kuwait; Tyler Baker of Lawrenceburg; Zach Thorpe of Cadiz; Caitlin Brown of Hartford; Megan Jones of Glasgow; Rachael Wilson of Elkton; and faculty advisors Matthew Dettman and Jason Wilson.

WKU won the Ohio Valley Student Conference in April to advance to the its second straight national competition and its 15th overall. WKU finished 17th in the 2015 national competition.

“As the concrete canoe team advisor for 24 years now, each team faces its own unique set of challenges over the course of the year designing and building their canoe,” Dettman said. “This year, it seemed the team had to overcome more obstacles than any other I’ve coached and time and time again they overcame adversity and just got stronger as a team.

“Using a concrete mix that had never been tried before, the team faced unique technical challenges that forced them to pour three canoes before they built one that could withstand the rigors of the competition. When it came time to submit our design paper, issues with printers forced the team to hand deliver the paper to Cincinnati to get it there in time. In the regional competition, we struggled in the first few races, but in the last race of the day I knew we needed a win to advance to the national championships and they delivered the win.

“Even on the trip to the national competition, we experienced a flat tire on the trailer and a blown transmission on the truck. Each time this team faced a challenge, they didn’t complain they just fixed the problem.”

Contact: Matthew Dettman, (270) 745-2461

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