Skip to main content
  • Home
  • News
  • WVU Teams win first and second place in SME Mine Rescue Competition

WVU Teams win first and second place in SME Mine Rescue Competition

Students pose with a trophy won in the mine rescue competition.

Members of the Gold and Blue Teams and trainers. (Front Row: Jared Morse, Thomas Spotloe, Dylan Shilling. Second Row: Josh Riffle, Dawson Apple, Josh Brady, Megan Sibley, Cole Delisle, Ashton Crawford, Ricky Ferenchak. Back Row: Oden Smith, Brian Welsh, Justin Waybright, Troy Whiton, John Helmick, Sean Rhodes)

Two Mine Rescue teams from West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources took home top honors in the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration – 2022 Eastern Collegiate Mine Rescue Competition. The event was held on October 29, in Julian.  

Story by Brittany Furbee, Communications Specialist


The WVU Gold Team finished in first for the fifth consecutive year and the Blue Team finished in second, beating out teams from the University of Kentucky and Virginia Tech. 

“I’m proud of the entire group: students, trainers, and the support we receive from Dean Mago and Dr. Kecojevic,” said Joshua Brady, director of mining and industrial extension,. “We are working on more than mine rescue skills every week. We teach the students how to communicate, handle yourself in a professional setting, being polite and work hard for the highest quality results.” 

The purpose of the mine rescue competition is to enhance the skills, knowledge and abilities of engineering students in the basic principles of mine rescue, teamwork and leadership. The contest includes a timed written exam as well as simulated team rescue exercise. During the exercise, teams must locate and mark on their maps the locations of various hazards and items such as people, fires or ventilation structures. 

In preparation for the competition, the team trained at WVU’s Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies. Team members worked through problems designed by their trainers to teach them skills they would need to accomplish the goal of the given scenario.   

“The most useful lesson learned through the competition is how to identify a problem early on and figure out a solution quickly so that it does not slow down the overall advancement of the operation,” said Megan Sibley, a mining engineering undergraduate student from Tampa, Florida. “I also learned how to more effectively communicate in stressful and difficult situations. Both lessons have made me more prepared to transition into my career and be a better, more efficient member in my career field.”  

The Gold Team was led by senior mining engineering student and four-year competition participant, Jared Morse from Earleville, MD. 

“Each member on our team has their own individual roles to play during the competition,” Morse said. “What separates us from other teams is our ability to assume our teammates' responsibilities when our duties are complete. This translates directly into the mining industry, where personnel look out for each other through all phases of production.” 

Joining Morse on the Gold team were mining engineering students Ashton Crawford, Cole Delisle, Megan Sibley, and Brian Welsh, geology major Tom Spotloe, and biology major Troy Whiton.  

Members of the Blue Team included mining engineering students Dawson Apple, Ricky Ferenchak, Josh Riffle, Dylan Shilling, Odin Smith and Justin Waybright.  

Trainers include Brady and mining and industrial extension agents, George “Smurf” Rannenberg, Sean Rhodes and John Helmick

"I couldn't be happier for these students,” Helmick said. "They have demonstrated a commitment to their teams, WVU, and our department at a level many professionals struggle to achieve.” Helmick said.  



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135