Concrete Canoe Team moves on to Nationals!

"Tesla" Team
The concrete canoe team gathered around their canoe.

YSU students Taylor Simcox, Bobby Hrusovsky, Alex Lincoln, Joe Reedy, Teresa McKinney, Mike Kaldy, and Samantha Rovnak have their eyes set on first place at this year’s National Concrete Canoe Competition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. After winning first place in the Ohio Valley Student Conference, the team will be heading to the competition for their third National appearance in June.

The group started, in August, discussing what they would need to do to make a concrete canoe. They each took on a role in the process. The team needed a project manager (Simcox), a quality control engineer (Kaldy), an analysis and hull design engineer (Reedy), a construction engineer (Hrusovsky), and a mix design engineer (Rovnak). Each person, however, was responsible for his or her own work.

The Concrete Canoe team had spent many hours preparing for the December 15th “Place Day.” The canoe process started when a mold was made by a CNC machine to mill the form. This was the first time a CNC machine has been used to make the canoe. The team, a week later and after wet sanding the canoe, stained it with the white base coat and then laid the stencils for the design.

The first steps after design were to find a composite concrete that best suited their needs. After completion, the canoe, named “Tesla,” was 20 feet long and 150 pounds. The design also included a portrait of Nikola Tesla, his signature, and the infamous Tesla Coil.

At Place Day, the team divided themselves into four sub-teams. One for mixing concrete, one for placing concrete, one for reinforcement, and one team that focused on quality control.

“This approach ensured that everything was completed in a timely manner,” project managerTaylor Simcox said.

The team came in first place overall at the qualifying conference, which was held in Cleveland at the beginning of April. They also took first place in final product and in the oral presentation. Additionally, they took second place in the written paper. The girl paddlers, Teresa and Sammie, took first in both the endurance and the sprint races. The guy paddlers, Mike and Joe, took second in both. The “Tesla” team also took second place in the coed race; those paddlers were Alex, Sammie, Joe, and Mike.

“I am very proud of the entire team and the canoe. Without the team’s dedication and hard work, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Everyone worked very hard for this and it shows,” Taylor Simcox said.