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WVU wins second national SME mine rescue competition

Student competing in the mine rescue competition.

Shannon Seitz, a mining engineering and geologystudent, competes in the 2019 Eastern Collegiate Mine Rescue National Competition. (WVU Photo/Hunter Tankersley)

The West Virginia University mine rescue team took home its second straight first place finish in the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration—2019 Eastern Collegiate Mine Rescue National Competition.


WVU bested teams from Virginia Tech, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Kentucky to win the event, which was held at the WVU Dolls Run Mine Training Center in Core, West Virginia, on October 26. WVU also won the Combination Team trophy for having the best overall combined score in the Mine Rescue Problem and Smoke Competition, of which they placed first in both.

The competition tested teams’ ability to locate and rescue missing miners.

“The teams were required to understand mine gases, ventilation and roof control all while under a racing clock,” said Joshua Brady, director of mining and industrial extension and the teams’ adviser. “The smoke competition took place in our self-contained self-rescuer, a mobile box trailer where items are placed in an environment filled with theoretical smoke.”

In preparation for the competition, the team trained at WVU’s Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies. In addition to studying the rules and statements of facts, team members donned self-contained breathing apparatuses and worked through problems designed by their trainers to help them earn the skills they would need to accomplish the goal of the scenario.

The team was led by mining engineering major, Thomas Wetzel. Joining Wetzel on the team were Erica McCauley (mining engineering/geology), Lauren Masterson (mining/civil engineering), Shannon Seitz (mining engineering/geology), Jeremy Diehlmann (mining engineering), Richard Shipe III (mining/civil engineering), and Jay Pollock (mining engineering).

“This is a skill set that a limited number of graduating students will have in the highly competitive market. To be successful each member has to play their part on the team and learn how to effectively communicate in stressful situations,” Brady said.

“Here at WVU our training staff invite the mine rescue students to meet the professional teams we train and they can complement building professional networks with the companies who hire them,” he added.

The team was trained by Mark Gouzd, extension agent with WVU Mining and Industrial Extension, John Sabo and George Rannenberg.

“I would like to thank Vladislav Kecojevic for his support and also the three very dedicated trainers,” Brady said.



CONTACT: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

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Phone: 304-293-4135