Tech teams win big at regional ASCE competition

Apr 3, 2023 | Engineering and Science, General News, Students

Louisiana Tech University students’ hard work, skills, and enthusiasm were on display at the 2023 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Gulf Coast Regional Competition at the University of Southern Alabama in Mobile as the team brought 12 first place and 6 second place awards home to Ruston.

Members of the University’s concrete canoe, steel bridge, surveying, sustainable solutions, and spirit teams bested more than 400 students from 14 other universities across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

The students worked over the past year to design and build race-ready canoes for the ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition, practiced building bridges for the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC)/ASCE Student Steel Bridge Competition, learned best practices and worked on surveying skills for the ASCE/Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) Surveying Competition, and worked to understand how to best revitalize a downtown block for a fictional city for the ASCE Sustainability Solutions Competition.

Noah Savoie, Concrete Canoe Captain and civil engineering senior from Mandeville, says that he is proud of the team for its hard work and competitive spirit. Savoie’s team won every concrete canoe race in their Outpaw canoe.

“I couldn’t be a prouder leader and captain,” Savoie said. “I advised my team on what techniques to use, but they put in the work to become the competitors that they are, practicing at least three hours per week since Fall Quarter. Being able to show up to race day and have complete confidence that my team would get first, then seeing them paddling back to shore with smiles of victory… there is nothing better. I was also very proud of the canoe construction team. Many members greatly improved aspects of the project such as quality control, and it is also always great to teach new members and see them develop the skills required to create a canoe.”

Surveying team leader and civil engineering senior from Mandeville, Mason Macaluso, says that the team practiced surveying techniques every Friday and Saturday for two months before the competition. These field tasks included pacing, performing a level loop, building stakeout, and determining the depth to cut from field elevations for a proposed sewer layout. In addition, the team prepared a topographic map from the given data. This data was then put into a CAD program where the team was able to create its finished product, which was submitted in advance of the competition. At the competition, prior to completing the field tasks, Macaluso and Connor Grey briefed judges on the map and answered questions.

“We reviewed the requirements for each of the field tasks and simulated the conditions of the competition,” Macaluso said. “We also consulted with our professors and those in the industry who were very helpful in providing feedback to us. The new CET Surveying Certification and students pursuing their licensure were a huge factor in our success. The surveying courses that we have taken at Tech prepared us very well, and we were able to apply the knowledge gained in these classes to the competition tasks. Overall, we are very proud of all the work that we put into the competition and look forward to what the future holds.”

“As a first-time participant in ASCE regionals, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Kade Klink, industrial engineering sophomore from Oak Grove and member of the steel bridge team. “I loved building the bridge with the team this year, even though I didn’t know anything at the beginning of the year. We had so much fun preparing for regionals even though we lost a lot of sleep. It was all worth it after seeing how beautiful our bridge was on build day and winning first place in aesthetics.”

Robert Kolling, a Ruston native and student in the construction concentration of the Master of Engineering and Technology Management program, says that he enjoyed competing in the “Second Line Umbrella” spirit competition and watching how students reacted to both winning and losing events.

“Years ago, a sports show came on TV with the saying, ‘the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.’ Watching students spend months on a project and compete with other schools reminded me of that show and how a team of students can put in so much effort and time, and it all can be lost in a second,” Kolling said. “Yet, these same defeated students pulled together to help the other students from Tech achieve their victory.

“I also witnessed students from all the schools helping and learning from each other,” he said. “When you compete in a competition, you have a bond, and students like to share how and what they did with others. Over the weekend, I observed teamwork, leadership, collaboration, laughter, and fun. I will enjoy the friendships and memories for years to come.”

Louisiana Tech teams won the following awards.

ASCE Concrete Canoe Team

1st Place Women’s Slalom

1st Place Men’s Slalom

1st Place Women’s Sprint

1st Place Men’s Sprint

1st Place Coed Sprint

1st Place Final Canoe Product

1st Place Canoe Project Proposal

1st Place Canoe Overall

AISC/ASCE Steel Bridge Team

1st Place Steel Bridge Aesthetics

ASCE/UESI Surveying Team

2nd Place Surveying

ASCE Sustainable Solutions Team

1st Place Sustainable Solutions

Timber-Strong Design Build Team

2nd Place Timber-Strong Design Build

Spirit and Regional Competitions

1st Place Bead Ring Toss

2nd Place Tug-O-War

2nd Place Second Line Umbrella

Geotechnical Competition

2nd Place Mobile River Bridge

Environmental Competition

2nd Place Mini Rain Garden