EAST LANSING (WWJ) — The Spartan Spanners of the Michigan State University College of Engineering brought home top honors from this year’s regional Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe competitions and are headed to nationals in May after receiving four first place honors for overall performance, economy, efficiency and stiffness.

MSU’s Concrete Canoe Team finished second place overall and brought home the first place award for its design paper.

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The competition is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Institute of Steel Construction. The steel bridge regionals were hosted at the University of Detroit Mercy and concrete canoe races were at the Erie Metro Park, both March 28-29.

It is the second year in a row that the steel bridge team won the regional contest and will represent MSU at the national competition.

Captains of the Spartan Spanners are Roberto De Silva, Ben Globke, Cody Thon, and Yerbol Zhakupov. MSU’s arch bridge spanned 18 feet, weighed 220 pounds and was constructed in 14 minutes, 45 seconds. For more information on the Spartan Spanners, contact msusteelbridge@gmail.com

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Six bridge teams from Michigan and northern Ohio competed. The Spartan Spanners will now compete at the 2014 National Steel Bridge Competition, which is May 23-24 at the University of Akron in Ohio.

The Student Steel Bridge Competition contest challenges future civil engineers to display their skills in steel design, steel fabrication and teamwork. Unlike some competitions, Steel Bridge requires students to design and build their product from scratch. After converting their design to shop drawings, teams build the structure piece by piece. Bridges are judged on a variety of qualities, including lightness, economy, appearance and various measures of strength and stability.

As for the concrete canoe squad, the team placed second overall in the competition, which is a personal best in recent years, said team captain Alex Blehm. The team brought home first place honors for the design paper and second for racing.

“We are really trying to ramp up our recruitment, outreach, and recognition in not only the civil department, but the whole college,” Blehm added.

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The National Concrete Canoe Competition provides students with a practical application of the engineering principles they learn in the classroom, along with team and project management skills they will need in their careers. The event challenges the students’ knowledge, creativity and stamina, while showcasing the versatility and durability of concrete as a building material. The organization’s first national concrete canoe contest was hosted in East Lansing by MSU in 1988.