Credit: Cal Poly | Courtesy

Cal Poly civil engineers are hoping to win their third-straight national title in concrete canoe building on their home turf.

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Pacific Southwest Conference (AISC), held from April 4 through 6, is expected to attract 1,300 engineering students from 19 western universities and colleges. The last time Cal Poly hosted this event was in 2004, according to Cal Poly Communications Specialist Jay Thompson.

The participating teams are anticipated to design an efficient concrete canoe that can float and go fast.

Cal Poly’s Concrete Canoe team consists of a project manager, senior captains, junior captains and 60 students who volunteer to make the canoe ready for competition day.

“We’ve won first place at nationals the past two years in a row so were hoping to keep the tradition alive this year,” civil engineering junior and Concrete Canoe team Project Manager Mason Breipohl said.

Cal Poly Concrete Canoe team won the “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering,” in 2018 for the fifth time. They previously took home the championships in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2017.

The participants chose the Norse Mythology theme, naming the canoe “Yggdrasil.” To the team, the theme represented the connectedness they experienced this year and the unity that they feel, according to Breiphol. Last year, the theme for their canoe was “van Gogh.”

“Since it’s such a small team, any addition you give to make the canoe, it feels like you really are making a difference to the [end product] of the canoe,” civil engineering sophomore and principle volunteer Maxwell Morgan said.

Cal Poly and the visiting teams set up their canoes on Dexter Lawn April 4, allowing anyone in the area to view the competing models. The teams then prepped for their presentations of each canoe which was held from noon to 5 p.m. in the Advanced Technology Labs.

On April 5, the participants then took their their canoes to race from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Lake Nacimiento.

In addition to the (AISC), Cal Poly’s chapter of American Institute of Steel Construction Conference will include a Steel Bridge Competition. The main event is scheduled from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday in the H-1 parking lot of Mt. Bishop Road.

Both of the competitions test the participating students understanding of problem solving, proficiency in techniques like welding and machining and civil engineering.

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