Friday, May 3, 2013

OU Concrete Canoe Team Takes First in Regional Competition

NORMAN, Okla. – Fifteen students from the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Concrete Canoe team will be taking their paddles to the national competition after earning first place in the regional engineering design, knowledge and stamina competition.

“The OU Concrete Canoe team has had great success in the past and this year is no exception,”
said Alyse Burgess, Concrete Canoe co-captain and architectural engineering senior. “The regional competition showed our newer members that the extra time and effort put into even the smallest details makes a big difference.”

This is the eighth in the past 13 years OU’s team has advanced to nationals. Burgess said this year’s success is due to their choice to focus on a more stable, lightweight design.

“By putting people in the canoe and racing it, we proved that the mix we designed can float and is strong enough to support the stresses caused by the paddlers,” said Burgess.

In April, the OU Concrete Canoe team attended the Mid-West Continent Regional Competition at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville through the American Society of Civil Engineers’ collegiate chapters. Their first-place finish landed them one of the coveted 18 spots in the National Concrete Canoe Competition, occurring June 20 to 22 at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“We compete on a business and design level, as well as agility,” said Burgess. “Between now and nationals we can’t touch the canoe, but we can work on our technical paper and oral presentation. We’ll also have quite a few paddling practices.”

The competition connects the classroom to the real world by challenging members to apply school concepts to a working product in a team environment.

“I have learned valuable teamwork and leadership skills that you don’t quite get in a classroom environment, but are important when heading out into the engineering profession,” Burgess said. “I’ve also succeeded at taking on the challenge of doing something most people would think is impossible. Make concrete float; how many people can say that?”

For more information about the OU College of Engineering competition teams, contact Jimmy Cannon, OU engineering practice coordinator and competition coach, at (405) 325-6844 or

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