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WVU’s concrete canoe team finishes third at regional conference

West Virginia Universities concrete canoe on the Potomac River during the region Virginia's Conference

WVU's Concrete Canoe team participated in fiveraces during the2018 Virginia's Conference.

West Virginia University’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers captured third place in the Concrete Canoe Competition at the 2018 Virginia's Conference, hosted by the Catholic University of America.


The conference brings together 15 schools from West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C., to allow students to gain valuable hands-on experience by competing in various engineering related competitions. Eight of the participating schools produced concrete canoes for this year’s competition.

Preparation’s for the event began during the fall semester, when the 16-member team from WVU tested more than 32 designs before settling on their winning model, an 18-foot-long concrete canoe that weighed more than 400 pounds.

To ensure that the canoe would float, the team had to make sure that their concrete mix had a dry unit weight less than 62.4 pounds per cubic foot, which is the unit weight of water. The final version of their canoe weighed in at 55 pounds per cubic foot.

“We did not have any concerns about whether or not the canoe would float on the day of the competition,” said team captain Allison Givens, a civil and environmental engineering major and WVU Honors College student from Nettie. “The most challenging part about the competition is ensuring that everything is executed the way we planned on the day we pour the canoe. This involves ensuring that the mix is the right consistency, the depth is what we estimated and the concrete is consolidated after it is placed on the mold.”

Before the canoe hit the water, the team was judged on an oral presentation, poster display and design paper that summarized every detail about the canoe’s design and construction. They then competed in a total of five races, ranging from a 200 meter sprint to a 600 meter endurance race.

The team received high scores across the board, landing them in third place.

“Making a concrete canoe is not the easiest task in the world, and it takes a lot of patience and determination,” said Givens. “Last year our canoe ended up cracking, so being able to place in the top three was a great accomplishment. This year we had a lot of new members join our team and we’re really proud of how they stepped up to tackle any task that came their way. The dedication of our members is truly what led to our success.”

Joining Givens on the team are civil engineering majors Taylor Bertholdt (Pasadena, Maryland), Alyssa Braddee (Uniontown, Pennsylvania), Connor Croghan (Burke, Virginia), Emily Deaver (Stewartstown, Pennsylvania), Rachel Formica (Honors College, Montville, Ohio), Jess Francis (Honors College, Bridgevile, Pennsylvania), Hannah Gallian (Clendenin), Marcus Isemann (Charles Town), Chase Jarrett (Nitro), Morgan Linger (Honors College, Fairmont), Adam Roh (Honors College, Morgantown) and Shane Swearman (Hanover); mining engineering major Quentin Borum (Sterling, Illinois), petroleum and natural gas engineering major Brendan Carr (Ellicot City, Maryland) and fundamentals of engineering student Hannah Byxbee (Honors College, Ranson).

“I am so proud of the team for all of their hard work and dedication throughout the entire season,” said Givens. “We’ve learned a lot this year, and plan to improve the program even more by fixing some mistakes we found along the way. In doing so, I believe we can achieve first place next year.”



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