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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Civil Engineers Prepare to Race Concrete Boats

Schools from all over the Pacific Southwest are represented. 

There were boats in front of Doheny Library on Thursday but no, campus didn't flood.

Teams from a dozen different universities exhibited their engineering skills in a concrete boat and steel bridge competition during the American Society of Civil Engineers' Pacific Southwest Conference. Participants include California State University Fullerton's whale, Bruce, as well as the University of Manoa Hawaii's aptly-named Wave Rider. An early crowd favortie was Calfornia State Long Beach's zombie-inspired Apocalypse, which was mounted on papier mache zombies rising from their graves. 

The teams will race the canoes in four-person rowing teams in a race at Santa Fe Dam on Saturday. The boats will be judged according to a number of specifications, including being able to support 2,500 pounds. 

USC's student team named their concrete canoe "SC Traveler" and mounted the vessel on top of pictures of downtown L.A. 

Jennifer Vides, a junior and civil engineering major, said the race makes for a fun but challenging weekend.

"We're really excited. The competition is gonna be tough but we know we can win," Vides said.

Jessica Maass, a civil engineering student at USC said she was also optimistic about a Trojan victory in the steel bridge competition.

"We're pretty confident," Maass said. "We'll see how it goes."

Steve Gadomski, an engineering professor at California State Univsersity Northridge, said he was cautiously optimistic.

"Last year, well, we made it through the races," he laughed. "But this is the best boat we've had in years."

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