Photo courtesy of Mike Wolterbeek, University of Nevada, Reno The University of Nevada, Reno’s 2015 Concrete Canoe team competes in the Mid-Pacific Regional Competition at Lake Natoma in Folsom, California on Friday, April 3. The team placed second in the final product category against 15 other universities.

Photo courtesy of Mike Wolterbeek, University of Nevada, Reno
The University of Nevada, Reno’s 2015 Concrete Canoe team competes in the Mid-Pacific Regional Competition at Lake Natoma in Folsom, California on Friday, April 3. The team placed second in the final product category against 15 other universities.

By Maddison Cervantes

The University of Nevada, Reno’s Concrete Canoe Team of 2014-2015 spent the weekend of April 3-5 at the University of California, Davis competing in the Associated Society of Civil Engineers Mid-Pacific Regional Competition.

During their weekend away, the team members competed against schools such as the University of California, Berkeley, California State University, Sacramento and Tongi University located in Shanghai, China.

For the team to proceed to the national competition, it was necessary for them to place first in the Mid-Pacific region while in Davis.

The competition was split into four sections: racing, professional paper, oral presentation and final product.

A press release sent out by the university’s communications office reported that the team took first place in the racing and the design paper category, along with second place in the final product category and the oral presentation.

“We have a strong team this year, with a lot of new members,” Team Manager and senior Wesley Munson said. “In preparation, we have spent almost seven months designing and constructing the canoe, spent every Saturday and Sunday morning since late August practicing the races, as well as wrote a 15 page design report which we turned in around the beginning of March.”

Munson also stated on Nevada Today that the team saved 400 hours of labor and $2,500 in construction expenses. Last year’s canoe was 160 pounds, and during construction, the team was looking for a superlight alternative. The canoe being used during for the current academic year, named Aquatone, after a CIA aircraft that was based in a top secret location in Nevada in the 1950s, weighs 138 pounds and is the lightest yet.

Munson and fellow Team Manager Devin Larson gave the required formal presentation on Saturday, March 28. The presentation lasted a total of five minutes, with an incentive to reiterate the significant aspects of the project discussed in the design report.

Junior and team member Guillermo Munoz explained that while preparing for Mid-Pac, he struggled with school and his commitment to the team.

“With all the last minute touch ups to the canoe, display and  on of top of that homework, I was very sleep deprived,” Munoz said. “Staying sane, there were many long nights constructing the canoe and as it got closer to competition, just trying not to crack under the pressure was difficult.”

Munoz also stated that he has hopes of helping to bring home first place for the state of Nevada, but he keeps his expectations grounded. As of right now, Munoz is proud to be a part of nationals.

College of Engineering Dean Manos Maragakis’ admiration for the team was noted in a press release sent out by the university’s communications office.

“These students with their superior technical knowledge and ability, their focus on team work and dedication to excellence continue to show all of us what can be achieved with talent and hard work,” Maragakis said.

The national competition will be held June 20-22, 2015 at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina.

Aside from the challenges the team members faced as a result of their dedication, Munoz stated that the opportunity to interact with other teams with a passion for engineering, along with their successes, made their distresses worthwhile.

“Our future aspirations are to make it to defend our national title in the national competition,” Munson said. “But obviously we just wanted to get through the weekend first.”

Maddison Cervantes can be reached at mcervantes@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @madcervantes.