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Civil engineers finish 17th in national competition

Concrete canoe design, race

Engineering students finish 17th in national competition.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release [6-21-11]

Minnesota State University, Mankato tied for 17th in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ National Concrete Canoe Competition June 16-18 at the University of Evansville, Ind.

The team, which won the Midwest region concrete canoe contest last month in Fargo, N.D., faced off against winners from other U.S. regions at Evansville. It was the first time that Minnesota State Mankato took part in the national contest since it started competing in 2004.

Minnesota State Mankato was the only school from Minnesota, the Dakotas and Iowa in the national contest. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, won the competition, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison placed second.

The 24-year-old American Society of Civil Engineers contest lets college students apply engineering principles that they learn in the classroom by displaying, discussing and racing concrete canoes that they’ve designed and built. The contest includes design and oral competitions and on-water races that challenge students’ knowledge, creativity and stamina.

Minnesota State Mankato’s team is led by student co-captains Thomas Klevan and Shelby Sovell. Other members include American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter president Spencer Cossalter and Aleigha Ahlstrom, Mike Arseneau, Dana Draper, Sarah Green, Andrew Gunnink, Jon Rahkola, Tim Setala and Maria Tiegs.

The Minnesota State Mankato students used several new materials and construction techniques to build their 273-pound craft, named “Ingenium.” Pre-stressed concrete was infused with recycled glass, plastic and other materials to make it lighter than water. (The canoe’s name is the Latin origin of the word “engineer.”)

Civil engineering faculty members Farhad Reza and James Wilde are advisers to the team and the ASCE Maverick student chapter.

Those who want more information may see detailed contest results, photos and videos at the American Society of Civil Engineers website,,-Activities,-and-Awards/Concrete-Canoe/2011-ASCE-National-Concrete-Canoe-Competition/.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,393 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 32 state institutions.

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