FSU Wins 13th Consecutive Regional Concrete Canoe Title

Friday, April 08, 2016

Fairmont State University’s American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter continues its tradition of excellence with its 13th consecutive regional concrete canoe win. The team will represent the region at the National Concrete Canoe Competition for the 13th year in a row, also a current national record for most consecutive national appearances. The team is encroaching on setting the longest overall consecutive national appearance record ever held by a team at the National Concrete Canoe Competition, which is currently set at 15.

FSU’s ASCE Student Chapter won first place in the Concrete Canoe Competition over the past weekend at the 2016 Virginias Conference, hosted by The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The FSU team won first place in four out of five concrete canoe races, first place in final product, second place in technical paper and second place for oral presentation. The 29th Annual ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition will be June 9-11, 2016, at University of Texas at Tyler in Tyler, Texas.

Team members participating in the weekend competition were Team Co-Captains Courtney Ridenour of Elkview and Kalee Murphey of Fairmont; Cole Anderson of Clarksburg; Hunter Beall of Weston; Anthoney Urgo of Fairmont; Quentin Knight of Clarksburg; Kathleen Kelly of Easton, Pa.; Ashley Kiser of Clendenin; Jonathan Decker of Fairmont; Brandon Howdershelt of Morgantown; Jimmy Pumphrey of Clarksburg; Jeffrey Hartley of Shinnston; Ben Costello of Fairmont; Sammy Jesmer of Bridgeport; Ian Chrobak of Farmington; and John Barker of Scenery Hill, Pa. Professor Tia Como, P.E., serves as ASCE faculty advisor with assistance from Professor James Vassil, P.E., and Professor Tabitha Lafferre.

“Fairmont State University remains the only college or university in the state to qualify for the national competition,” Como said. “Our students work extremely hard to create a concrete canoe of the proper consistency and dimensions to actually float and race on the water. I am always so very proud of our students’ accomplishments, particularly this year, given some of the obstacles they had to overcome.”

The conference brings together 14 schools from West Virginia, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and provides students a chance to gain valuable hands-on experience by competing in many engineering-related competitions. Of the 14 participating colleges and universities this year, only ten produced concrete canoes for the competition. The students must follow strict rules that dictate the contents of the concrete matrix in building the canoe and, of course, the vessel must float, to be eligible to compete in the races. Fairmont State won the first of its regional titles in 2004.

The 2016 FSU team named its concrete canoe “Endeavour,” after the NASA space shuttle. The shuttle successfully completed 25 missions and the FSU Concrete Canoe Team sought to channel this success into the 2016 concrete canoe. The “Endeavour” canoe is 18 feet long, with a maximum width of 28 inches, depth of 14 inches and half an inch thickness. The density concrete is approximately 52 pcf and the overall weight is 180 pounds. The team created a strict budget so that the aging curing chamber and casting table could be rebuilt without causing undue financial stresses. With sustainability also in mind, the team used old plywood from previous years to construct the new casting table. This careful budgeting successfully allowed the team to purchase a computerized numeric controlled form once again this year. To allow more space for paddlers, Endeavour was slightly lengthened and, to improve maneuverability, a moderate rocker was added.

As part of the build up to the national competition the team will host a benefit dinner from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 6, at Muriale’s Italian Restaurant, 1742 Fairmont Ave., Fairmont. This benefit dinner will act as the main fundraiser as the team begins planning their trek to Texas. This trip will be more costly than years past due to the distance. To purchase tickets or for more information about the dinner, contact Tabitha.Lafferre@fairmontstate.edu or kjeanmurphey@gmail.com by Tuesday, April 28. Individual sponsorships are $100 at the Platinum level, $50 at the Regular level and $25 for students; children age 5 and younger are admitted for free. Corporate sponsorships also are available.

The event will begin with a meet and greet and cash bar with music provided by team member Brandon Howdershelt and his band. The dinner buffet will begin at 7 p.m. The keynote address will be given by distinguished past concrete canoe captains.

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) represents more than 137,500 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide, and is America’s oldest national engineering society. ASCE’s vision is to position engineers as global leaders building a better quality of life. Visit www.concretecanoe.org and asce.org.

FSU ASCE will host a Summer Technical Conference for professionals and technicians to earn six professional development hours. The event with the theme “Engineering the Impossible,” will take place on the main FSU campus from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, June 2, in Room 305 of the Engineering Technology Building. Sponsored by the WV DOH, qualifying WV DOH employees can attend the conference for free. For more information, contact tia.como@fairmontstate.edu or kjeanmurphey@gmail.com,


About the photo:

In front of the canoe are Sammy Jesmer, Ashley Kiser and Jonathan Decker. Standing from left to right are Courtney Ridenour, Kalee Murphey, Anthoney Urgo, Cole Anderson, Kathleen Kelly, Jimmy Pumphrey, Quentin Knight, Jeffrey Hartley, Hunter Beall, Brandon Howdershelt, Ben Costello and Ian Chrobak.