Here’s a video of our co-ed sprint heat from the canoe races at PSWC 2014, courtesy of captain Jake’s parents. This was the first heat we’ve won in years! Our team took advantage of DiSCovery II’s straight speed and their extensive preparation on their way to qualify for the small final. The coed race consists of two down-and-back laps for a total distance of 400 meters.
I’ll start off by putting this into perspective and context. Historically, USC ASCE typically places top-three in one or two events at PSWC. Our 18-school conference, combined with perennial powerhouses in the concrete canoe competition, make our conference one of the most competitive of the 15 in the country.
Last year, our only victory, albeit significant, was our first-place environmental win. This year, going into the awards banquet we didn’t expect much, but were proud of our collective effort.
We started out the awards banquet with a 1st place victory in the Scavenger Hunt competition. Despite having a team less than half the size of many other schools, our focus and determination led us to win one of the most fun events, finding cool spots and landmarks around SDSU’s campus and throughout San Diego.
Steel Bridge won 3rd place in construction speed, completing the construction of their bridge in roughly 18 minutes. They also won 3rd in bridge lightness. Our team ended up placing 3rd overall, earning an invitation to the AISC/ASCE National Steel Bridge Competition in Akron, OH!
Last year, our Concrete Canoe team had their first canoe to successfully survive every race in three years, but placed 14th overall. Despite deductions in the oral presentation and final product categories due to technicalities, the Concrete Canoe team placed 6th overall and won 3rd in design paper!
Our paddling team also did well, placing 7th overall. Highlights included our women’s slalom team placing sixth, our 4-person co-ed team winning their heat, and our men’s sprint team winning the small final by less than a second to place 6th, after missing the big final qualification by only a second.
Considering where we were just a year ago, and the fact that most of this year’s USC ASCE PSWC team were first-time attendees, all of these results are spectacular. But as we were celebrating our successes, we won an award that we never expected: 3rd place overall for the entire conference!
The overall conference rank is determined by summing all of the weighted points earned for each event, including canoe and bridge, the smaller design teams, and the sports tournaments. To win, a school must be well-rounded, participate in every event, and fight to win individual games, even if they don’t win entire sports tournaments. USC ASCE has not placed this high in the overall conference rank since 1994. Our 3rd place finish would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our entire team.
Here’s the event placement breakdown that led to our 3rd-place overall finish:
- Concrete Canoe – 6th
- Steel Bridge – 3rd
- Technical Paper – 5th
- Geotechnical / Geowall – Participated
- Environmental – 5th
- Surveying – 7th
- Impromptu & Mystery – Participated
- Family Feud Quiz – T5th
- Basketball – T5th
- Volleyball – Participated
- Ultimate Frisbee – T5th
- Tug of War – Participated
- Kan Jam (2 teams) – T5th, Participated
- Scavenger Hunt – 1st
- Concrete Bowling – Participated
This year, we proved that just because we have a smaller department, fewer resources, and less manpower than other schools doesn’t mean that we can’t be successful. Let’s celebrate our victories, analyze our weaknesses, and come back next year ready to take 1st!
The Steel Bridge competition is one of the most exciting to watch, as schools race to assemble their bridge as quickly as possible, before applying loads and testing the deflections. There are countless deductions and possible disqualifications that the teams must avoid, and it isn’t uncommon for over one-third of the teams to be disqualified. Overall, our steel bridge team had a great competition this year, despite failing the lateral load test.
Our geotech team had a pretty successful competition, with their wall holding through all but one loading test.
Our concrete bowling team created a Wilson-themed bowling ball, only to discover that two other schools had the same theme. Next year we’ll be more creative! It bowled well, resulting in a respectable showing.
Our Ultimate Frisbee team won its first game, earning us 25 PSWC Points!
The main event of PSWC Day 2 is the Concrete Canoe Race Competition. All 16 schools with functional canoes compete in 5 events:
- Men’s Endurance/Slalom (time-based)
- Women’s Endurance/Slalom
- Men’s Sprints (Heats, Small & Big Finals)
- Women’s Sprints
- Co-ed Double-sprints (4-person)
Our canoe successfully made it through all of the races, and looked great in the process!
Our team fought hard, but ultimately lost their first-round match in three sets.