UE 2015 Aces Concrete Canoe Team Qualifies for National Competition

Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The University of Evansville 2015 Aces Concrete Canoe team has qualified for the National Concrete Canoe Competition. The team secured their spot by coming in second overall in the regional concrete canoe competition at the American Society of Civil Engineers Great Lakes Student Conference. That conference was April 16-19 at the University of Notre Dame. Out of the more than 250 civil engineering programs in the United States, only 25 schools qualify for competition at the national level.

The team’s 190-lb, 19.9-ft long canoe Julie, is named in honor of UE civil engineering alumna Julie (Elpers) Otis, who led Aces Concrete Canoe to its first Nationals Competition in 2005. Otis lost her battle with breast cancer in 2013, and the team found inspiration in her fight and in her strength.

The canoe will be on display at UE’s annual Engineering Excellence Day on Friday, April 24, 1:00-5:30 p.m., East Terrace lawn next to Ridgway University Center. This event is free and open to the public

In all four areas of the competition, design paper, product display, oral presentation, and races, the team came in second behind only the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which has won the National Competition five times. 

Aces Concrete Canoe placed second ahead of the University of Illinois at Chicago, in design paper, where the technical and project management aspects of the year-long project are discussed. 

On Friday, April 17, the Aces Concrete Canoe team used their product display to highlight the construction quality, aesthetics, and durability of their canoe, and to honor its namesake’s fight against breast cancer. In product display, the team placed second ahead of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. 

The presentation team delivered a summary on Saturday, April 18, of their year-long work to a panel of civil engineering judges, answering questions based on their presentation and design paper, and coming in second, ahead of third-place Northwestern University.

Race day was Friday, consisting of the two-man 600 meter slalom and endurance race, the two-woman slalom and endurance, the two-woman 200 meter sprint race, the two-man 200 meter sprint race, and two-man/two-woman co-ed 400-m sprint race. Except for one race, the paddling team came in second beating out third-place finishers that included Notre Dame (women’s sprint), Marquette (men’s sprint), University of Southern Indiana (co-ed sprint), and Northwestern University (men’s endurance). 

But in the women’s slalom and endurance, the paddling team beat out the University of Wisconsin-Madison team by nearly a minute to take first place, the only time in 15 years that any school has ever beaten the women’s team from Madison.

All 18 schools in the Great Lakes Region fielded canoes this year and included, in addition to the above: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Purdue, Valparaiso, Trine, Purdue University-Calumet, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, Bradley, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Illinois Institute of Technology.

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