ASCE Student Chapter Wins 12th Regional Concrete Canoe Competition

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fairmont State University’s American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter continues its tradition of excellence and for the 12th consecutive year will represent the region at the National Concrete Canoe Competition.

FSU’s ASCE Student Chapter won first place in the Concrete Canoe Competition over the weekend at the 2015 Virginias Conference, hosted by Virginia Military Institute. The FSU team won first place in all five concrete canoe races, first place in final product, second place in technical paper and third place for oral presentation.

Team members participating in the weekend competition were Team Captain Lisa Allen of Hundred, ASCE Student Chapter President Kalee Murphey of Fairmont, Rezin Spears of Blacksville, Keith Axton of Clarksburg, Cameron Deem of Harrisville, Kathleen McDiffitt of Easton, Pa., Quentin Knight of Clarksburg, Max Sobus of Wilmington, Del., Courtney Ridenour of Elkview, Ashley Kiser of Clendenin, Jonathan Decker of Fairmont, Hunter Beall of Weston, George Lynch of White Sulphur Springs, Anthony Urgo of Fairmont and Cole Anderson of Clarksburg. Professor Tia Como, P.E., serves as ASCE faculty advisor.

“Fairmont State University remains the only college or university in the state to qualify for the national competition,” Como said. “Our students work extremely hard to create a concrete canoe of the proper consistency and dimensions to actually float and race on the water. I am so very proud of our chapter and students.”

The conference brings together 14 schools from West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and provides students a chance to gain valuable hands-on experience by competing in many engineering-related competitions. Of the 14 participating colleges and universities this year, only nine produced concrete canoes for competition. The students must follow strict rules that dictate the contents of the concrete matrix in building the canoe and, of course, the vessel must float, to be eligible to compete in the races. Fairmont State won the first of its regional titles in 2004.

The 2015 FSU team named its concrete canoe “Adamas,” which is Latin for diamond and unconquerable. The team selected the name to symbolize “a diamond in the rough” and its hope to be unconquerable; the name also is a tribute to the state’s coal mining industry. The “Adamas” canoe is 17 feet 9.5 inches long, with a width of 27 inches, depth of 14 inches and half an inch thickness. The unit weight of the concrete is 55.35 pcf and the overall weight is 173 pounds. With a sustainable focus, reuse of lab inventory reduced economic constraints and allowed for the purchase of a computerized numeric controlled (CNC) form. A narrow, flatter hull was designed to achieve optimum performance during the slalom course and an additional tapered rib was incorporated for strength and paddler comfort.

As part of the build up to the national competition the team will host a benefit dinner from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 1, at Muriale’s Italian Restaurant, 1742 Fairmont Ave., Fairmont. To purchase tickets or for more information about the dinner, contact by Tuesday, April 28. Individual sponsorships are $100 at the Platinum level, $50 at the Regular level and $25 for students; children age 5 and younger are admitted for free. Corporate sponsorships also are available.

The event will begin with a meet and greet and cash bar with music provided by Soup Camel Music with Kim Thorne and Americana Jug & Country Blues. The dinner buffet will begin at 7 p.m. Greg Wilson, Area Superintendent, Construction Group, Hensel Phelps, will deliver the keynote address. Wilson was the captain of the 2005 Concrete Canoe Team that holds the FSU record achieved at Clemson.

The 28th Annual ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition will be June 20-22, 2015, at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C.

“Our best national showing was the last time Clemson hosted, FSU received 12th in the nation and two top five finishes, fifth in men’s sprint and fourth in oral presentation. This year’s team is striving to beat this, and place in the top 10 nationally,” Como said.

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) represents more than 137,500 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide, and is America’s oldest national engineering society. ASCE’s vision is to position engineers as global leaders building a better quality of life. Visit

FSU ASCE will host a Summer Technical Conference for professionals and technicians to earn six professional development hours. The event with the theme “Think Like an Engineer,” will take place on the main FSU campus from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, June 4, in Room 305 of the Engineering Technology Building. Sponsored by the WV DOH, qualifying WV DOH employees can attend the conference for free. For more information, contact


About the photo:

Pictured in the front row from left to right are Anthony Urgo, Jonathan Decker, Cameron Deem, Cole Anderson, Courtney Ridenour, Kalee Murphey, Tia Como, Lisa Allen, Kathleen McDiffitt and Rosetta Kolar. In the back row from left to right are George Lynch, Rezin Spears, Hunter Beall, Keith Axton, Max Sobus, Ashley Kiser and Quentin Knight.