Blacksburg, VA | May 27th-28th
After regionals, the team continued to work hard making adjustments to the bridge to avoid repeat penalties at nationals and improve the build time. The team took a short break after finals and regrouped the day before leaving for Virginia Tech to have another build practice and enjoyed a team dinner hosted by our advisor, Dr. Libre.
The team decided to break up the trip to Blacksburg, VA and stopped the first night in Charleston, WV after a day full of driving on Wednesday. The next morning, the team got up and visited the New River Gorge National Park to hike and admire the New River Bridge. It was such a beautiful day and the views were incredible. The team continued the trip to Blacksburg and arrived safely to enjoy dinner and play some card games together.
On Friday, the team got up and went to Virginia Tech campus to practice building in the parking lot before setting up for aesthetics judging. After a couple good runs, the team packed up and checked in. The afternoon was spent networking with other teams from across the nation and scoping out the competition.
The next morning, the team was up bright and early for build practice in the hotel parking lot at 6am. After two successful builds, the team packed up and headed to the Beamer-Lawson Indoor Practice Facility where competition was being held. The team was scheduled to go 33rd out of 35 teams, so there was plenty of time to watch other teams build and load.
The build team built the bridge in one of the team’s best runs yet of 6 minutes and 4 seconds with only one drop! The bridge passed the lateral load test with flying colors once again, and it weighed in at 255.3 lbs. At nationals, the vertical load case was different from regional competition. When fully loaded with 2500 lbs, the bridge had an aggregate deflection of 0.62”. The midspan deflected 0.41” while the cantilever deflected 0.21”.
That evening, the team attended the awards banquet and was pleased to be awarded 1st place in cost estimation and 13th place overall. This was the best the team had placed on a national level in nearly two decades and was the team’s first 1st place in a category at national competition ever!
It was a wonderful experience to be able to compete in person again this year, and many lessons were learned to apply to next year’s bridge. The team would like to wish all our graduating seniors the best of luck in all their future endeavors and thank them for the experience and knowledge they’ve passed along. The team would also like to thank our sponsors for their generous donations. Their funding allows the team to travel to competitions and helps provide materials for the team to be successful on a regional and national level.