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Ohio Northern University’s concrete canoe team captures second, advances to nationals

Apr 30, 2013

The Ohio Northern University concrete canoe team captured second place at the 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers’ regional concrete canoe contest at Michigan Technological University, April 5-7. The second-place finish qualified the team for the 2013 National Concrete Canoe Competition that was held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in June.

In the concrete canoe competition, Ohio Northern University competed against teams from Michigan Technological University, Western Michigan University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Lawrence Technological University, University of Toledo, Michigan State University and Detroit Mercy University. Michigan Technological University took top honors.


ONU Polar Bears paddle across the frigid lake.

Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Mohti, assistant professor of civil engineering, served as the team’s adviser. “These projects help students to apply things that they learn in class and to practice completing an entire project from the design stage to the construction stage. In this project, students are expected to carry responsibility and practice leadership throughout all stages. They show knowledge and provide solutions to problems using structural engineering principles that can be applicable to concrete and steel.”

n the concrete canoe competition, each team is graded on the design paper, oral presentation, final product and the races, which include women, men, coed sprints, and women and men endurance. The canoe measures 20 feet in length, about 32 inches at its widest point, and 14-16 inches deep. Its total weight is approximately 225 pounds, lighter than last year.

“The students dedicated many hours working on design, researching materials, coming up with new ideas for testing, and constructing and doing quality control. Also, they practiced paddling on regular basis,” Abdel-Mohti said. “I am just proud of them, and I commend their effort and achievements. They proudly represented ONU among other top schools in the region.”

In addition to its second-place overall performance, the team captured several other awards. In individual categories, the team placed third on design paper, oral presentation and final product, and second overall in the races.

Mary Purvis, a senior civil engineering major from New Haven, Ind., and Sarah Thompson, a senior civil engineering major from Goodlettsville, Tenn., served as team captains. Other members who competed were Sarah Fiffick, a senior mechanical engineering major from Strongsville, Ohio; Veronica Joseph, a junior civil engineering major Columbia Station, Ohio; Josh Bryan, a senior civil engineering major from Coraopolis, Pa.; Stephen Berner, a senior civil engineering major from Beloit, Ohio; Ryan Lawson, a senior mechanical engineering major from Toledo, Ohio; Nate Ogden, a sophomore civil engineering major from Grosse Pointe, Mich.; Kevin Carper, a senior civil engineering major from Louisville, Ohio; David Bruckelmeyer, a junior civil engineering major from Millersport, Ohio; Victoria Smith, a sophomore civil engineering major from Dunkirk, Ohio; Emily Puleo, a freshman civil engineering major from Greensburg, Pa.; Katie Bowman, a senior civil engineering major from Richfield, Ohio; Jamie Garbash, a junior civil engineering major from Saint Clairsville, Ohio; and Nathan Shay, a senior civil engineering major from Enon, Ohio.


ONU engineers put their steel bridge to the test.

At the same event, Ohio Northern engineering students participated in a steel bridge competition. Despite not placing, Abdel-Mohti said the team continues to make improvements.

In the steel bridge competition, each team is graded on construction speed, lightness of the bridge, display, stiffness, economy and efficiency. Because ONU has not been an active participant in recent steel bridge competitions, the team made it its mission this year to set a foundation for success in future years.

“The team did a great job recruiting students and laying out the officer positions needed to make the team,” Abdel-Mohti said. “What they have done this year will definitely help in making the team successful in coming years. They overcame all of the challenges that they faced. I commend them for their dedication and eagerness to finish the project on time and to represent our institution.”

ONU’s steel bridge competition team consists of Nathan Brune, a sophomore civil engineering major from Decatur, Ind.; David Woolley, a junior civil engineering major from Gainesville, N.Y.; Marc Le Roy, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Marion, Ohio; Brett Neutzling, a junior mechanical engineering major from Ontario, Ohio; Camden Brown, a junior mechanical engineering major from Findlay, Ohio; Levi Topp, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Arlington, Ohio; and Matt Flynn, a sophomore mechanical engineering major Lake Mary, Fla. Gabe Liptak, a senior civil engineering major from Mentor, Ohio, is the team’s captain.

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