S&T mucking teams dominate in international competition

The Missouri S&T women’s mucking team won its fourth consecutive international title March 22-26 in Kentucky. Team members are, from left, Susan Frazier, Jennifer Holloway, Paige Cochran, Caitlin Darnall, Nichole Wescott and Ruthie Macke.

Missouri University of Science and Technology made a clean sweep of the 39th Intercollegiate Mining Competition held March 22-26 in Georgetown, Kentucky.

The women’s team won its fourth consecutive title. The men’s B team recorded its first overall first-place finish. And the alumni team — called Tater Patch — also took home top honors. The men’s A team finished sixth.

The University of Kentucky hosted the competition in events based on old-fashioned mining techniques generally known as “mucking.” Students competed in seven timed events: gold panning, surveying, hand mucking, hand steeling, track standing, Swede sawing and jackleg drilling. Seven American universities and seven international teams competed.

“I think we are successful because we are fortunate enough to have a permanent site to practice on,” says team co-captain Jennifer Holloway. “We work hard and practice constantly. We are proud of our school, and we want to represent that. This year was a great year, and the results show how much time we put into preparation.”

The Missouri S&T men’s B Team won the overall mucking title for the first time. Team members are, from left, Drew Arneson, Alex Sibley, Chance Moore, Mike Verdegen and Andrew Johnson.

The women’s team won the Swede sawing, hand steeling, jackleg drilling, hand mucking, surveying and track standing portions. The men’s B team was first in gold panning, and the men’s A team was first in Swede sawing and track standing. The alumni team was first in Swede sawing, hand steeling, hand mucking, track standing and surveying.

First held in 1978, the games were created to honor 91 miners who died in a fire at Idaho’s Sunshine Mine in 1972. The competition celebrates traditional mining practices and helps create a global community of mining students. Mining colleges and universities around the world rotate hosting the Intercollegiate Mining Competition.

The following competitors represented Missouri S&T:

Women’s Team:
Paige Cochran of Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, a senior in mining engineering
Caitlin Darnall of Danvers, Illinois, a senior in petroleum engineering and mining engineering
Susan Frazier of Placerville, California, a graduate student in explosives engineering
Jennifer Holloway of Moscow Mills, Missouri, a senior in mining engineering
Ruthie Macke of Lake Saint Louis, Missouri, a senior in explosives engineering
Nichole Wescott of Rolla, Missouri, a junior in mining engineering

Men’s Team A:
Chris Hudak of Brecksville, Ohio, a junior in undergraduate studies
Jake Meier of Robertsville, Missouri, a graduate student in explosives engineering
Josh Williams of Fillmore, Illinois, a senior in mining engineering
Clayton Mears of Portage, Ohio, a senior in mining engineering
Trent Mitchell of Eldorado Springs, Missouri, a senior in mining engineering
Roger Taylor of St. Louis, a senior in mining engineering

Men’s Team B:
Andrew Arneson of St. Louis, a senior in mining engineering
Andrew Johnson of Nixa, Missouri, a senior in freshman engineering with an emphasis in mining
Chance Moore of Palmyra, Missouri, a senior in mining engineering
Alex Sibley of Black, Missouri, a junior in explosives engineering
Mike Verdegem of Denver, Pennsylvania, a sophomore in mining engineering

Alumni Team:
Mike Allen, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mining engineering in 2012 and 2014, respectively
Mark Spaniel, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering in 2014
David Phelps, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering in 2015
Josh Davis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering in 2011
Alex Warren, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering in 2010
Frank Virant, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering in 2010

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