URI Civil Engineering students capture record fourth straight
N.E. Concrete Canoe Championship
KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 19, 1999 -- Dynasty, juggernaut,
powerhouse. They're the only terms strong enough to describe the University
of Rhode Island American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter's record
fourth consecutive New England Regional Concrete Canoe Championship.
During the mid-April competition in West Hartford,
Conn., the civil engineering students and their boat, "Rhode Rules"
captured first place in eight of nine categories, including design, presentation
and paddling. The title earned the Rams a berth in the national championship,
June 17 through 19 in Melbourne, Fla. The URI team is one of the top 25
schools to compete in the nationals.
But to travel to Melbourne and vie for a $5,000
scholarship, the team will need help with expenses. Ground transportation
of the canoe and air fare for the team members will be expensive. The money
used to construct and transport the canoe so far has been donated by local
merchants, engineering companies and engineering societies, but more help
Those wishing to help may send donations to Ms.
Holly Olsen, Fundraising Chairperson, ASCE Student Chapter, University of
Rhode Island, Dept. of Civil Engineering, 203
Bliss Hall, Kingston, R.I. 02881-0805.
To advance to the nationals, URI defeated such
engineering powers as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University,
Northeastern University, and the University of Connecticut in the New England
The canoe is 21 feet, 6 inches long, and weighs
79 pounds. It is one-quarter inch thick. "Rhode Rules" was constructed
using an ultra-light concrete and a high-tech reinforcement system that
used Kevlar, geogrid, and fiberglass mesh. The team started working on the
project in September with research and design. A mold was built out of plywood
onto which the concrete was poured.
"There was a lot of pressure from the alumni
to win," said student Pete Martin, of North Kingstown. "But they
also help us out a lot. We had the most people at the regionals, including
10 alumni and four professors." Other
teams in New England are getting tired of Rhode Island's dominance. "They
don't like us," Martin said. "They are nowhere near us."
"Three in a row is unprecedented," said
Raymond Wright, professor and department chair of Civil Engineering and
adviser to the student chapter. "Four titles is incredible."
Wright said the team will be hoping to improve on
last year's eighth-place national finish.
Olsen, a junior civil engineering major from San
Jose, Calif., called her mom with the news on the New England title. "My
mom said, 'You mean you beat MIT?' She was just really surprised. This was
my first year going, and it was wonderful."
Student Adam Simonsen, of Annapolis, Md., added:
"URI's engineering program is as good as any school in the country."
The members of the team are:
Stephen Asprinio, Warwick, R.I.: Stephen Benben,
Providence, R.I.; Corey Boba, Middletown, R.I.; Kevin Demers, of Pawtucket,
R.I. and Tupelo, Miss.; Scot Deledda, North Stonington, Conn.; Barry Ellison,
Richmond, R.I.; Josh Kivela, Nashua, N.H.; Laura Landry, Lincoln. R.I.;
Jack Madden, Providence, R.I.; Pete Martin, North Kingstown, R.I; Joseph
Moniz, Warwick, R.I.; Holly Olsen, San Jose, Calif.; Erin Papa, North Kingstown,
R.I.; Rajan Ray, Prospect, Conn.; Charlotte Redner, West Point, N.Y.; Glen
Skurka, Coventry, R.I.; Adam Simonsen, Annapolis, Md.; and Derek Simpson,
For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116