Students spar, bridges buckle at 47th Annual Colorado High School Bridge Building Competition

Media Contact: Lauren Meredith, 303-445-2945

For Release: February 22, 2014

DENVER - Expressions of excitement and anguish were rampant at the 47th Annual High School Bridge Building Competition Saturday, Feb. 22 in Denver. Top winners from across the state took home prizes, scholarships and the opportunity to represent Colorado at the International Bridge Building Competition in Chicago.

In Region One, Ancil Lindley of Lindley Home School took first place for the third year in a row with a bridge that weighed 22 grams (.78 ounces) and supported 151.33 kilograms (333.63 pounds), giving it an efficiency value of 6,878. Dade Lindley, also of Lindley Home School, won second place with a bridge weighing 15.68 grams (0.55 ounces), which supported 77.94 kg (171.83 lbs). Andrew Yang of Cherry Creek High School took third with a bridge weighing 17.60 grams (0.62 ounces), which supported 86.98 kg (191.76 lbs). Other schools that competed in Region One include Front Range Christian School, Fort Morgan High School, Denver School of Science and Technology, East High School and Littleton High School.

In Region Two, Nicholas Lewis of Cheyenne Mountain High School won first place with a bridge weighing 21.09 grams (0.74 ounces) that supported 121.50 kg (267.86 lbs), giving it an overall efficiency value of 5,769. In second place, Katrina Rachwitz of Rampart High School brought a bridge weighing 13.25 grams (0.47 ounces) that held 65.69 kg (144.82 lbs). Nikolas Provost of Rampart High School took third, with a bridge weighing 15.60 grams (0.55 ounces) that supported 73.61 kg (162.28 lbs). Other schools that competed in Region Two include Coal Ridge High School, Buena Vista High School, Rifle High School, Manzanola High School, Manitou Middle School and Grand Junction High School.

Every year, students with an interest in science and engineering gather at the Bureau of Reclamation's Materials, Engineering and Research Laboratory to test out their homemade, small-scale bridges. These bridges, made only from basswood and common adhesive, are then tested to determine how much weight they can support. The winning models are determined by the structural efficiency ratio, which is the amount of weight the bridge can hold divided by the weight of the bridge. The winners have the highest ratios.

The state is split into two regions: northern (Region One) and southern (Region Two). The first and second place winners from each region are invited to compete at the International Bridge Building Contest, where prizes have included college scholarships. Winners from this year's competition were awarded college scholarships to go toward science and engineering education.

The High School Bridge Building Competition aims to encourage participation in the fields of math and science, giving students an opportunity to try their hand at constructing model bridges and glimpse into the world of professional engineering. In addition to the competition, attendees can take tours through Reclamation's laboratories and facilities. Students are given the opportunity to view current research being conducted, how cement is made for dams and see a professional press put thousands of pounds of pressure onto concrete cylinders until they explode.

The competition is a collaboration between the Reclamation, the National Society of Professional Engineers of Colorado and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado.

Competition Results:

Region 1 Individual Results

Region 1 School Results

Region 2 Individual Results

Region 2 School Results

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