LAWRENCE — It’s full steam ahead to the national competition for the University of Kansas School of Engineering Concrete Canoe Team. KU earned a spot in the national finals after claiming first place in the American Society of Civil Engineers Mid-Continent Conference Regional Concrete Canoe Competition, which was April 24-26 in Stillwater, Okla.
A field of more than 20 teams – winners from other regional competitions around the country – awaits KU at the 2014 National Concrete Canoe Competition, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown set for June 19-21 in Johnstown, Pa.
“We should be really competitive at nationals. Our design paper is solid. Our presentation is good. The canoe is fast and looks great. We’ll be competitive on paddling. I’m confident we’ll have a strong showing,” said Jeremy Boger, a senior in civil engineering and concrete canoe team leader.
In addition to claiming first place overall in the Mid-Continent Regional, KU also took first in the co-ed sprint race, women’s sprint race, final product and the oral presentation category. They earned second place in the men’s endurance race, women’s endurance race and the design report category.
“It was really rewarding to bring home all that hardware,” Boger said. “To see how far we’ve come since my first trip to regionals two years ago is a testament to hard work and great teammates.”
Boger said this year’s team was motivated by just missing a trip to nationals after a second-place finish at the 2013 regional competition. The biggest area for improvement proved to be steering and paddling the canoe, so the team spent countless hours practicing at nearby Lone Star Lake.
“All that work really paid off at regionals,” Boger said. “Our race times were great, faster than our practice times, even. And that’s in spite of the fact that we had to deal with strong headwinds a lot of the time. After seeing that, I know we’ll be ready to compete at nationals.”
The team will spend time between now and commencement making minor repairs and adjustments to the canoe to make sure it’s fully ready for the demands of the national competition.