The Steel Bridge Team from Missouri University of Science and Technology has
qualified for the national intercollegiate steel bridge competition, which will
be held Memorial Day weekend in Gainesville, Fla.
Missouri S&T finished third overall in the regional competition April 17
in Fayetteville, Ark. The top three regional teams advance to nationals.
Team members design and fabricate scale models of bridges that are
reassembled at competition sites. Judges look at construction speed, design,
lightness, stiffness and structural efficiency. The bridges are “loaded” to
test structural performance.
In Arkansas, Missouri S&T relied on consistency in the individual
judging events to make a strong overall showing. S&T finished fourth in
construction speed, third in lightness, third in display, fourth in stiffness,
third in economy and fourth in efficiency.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City finished first at the regional event
and Kansas State finished second. The host team, the University of Arkansas,
finished behind S&T in fourth.
Levi Smith, one of Missouri S&T’s team leaders, says S&T almost
missed out on a chance to go to Florida. The regional rules state that two
teams from a 10-team field are allowed to advance to the national competition,
while three teams advance from an 11-team field.
“Oklahoma State was going to drop out because they couldn’t construct within
the rules, but we let them borrow our temporary pier for construction, which
allowed them to compete, bringing the team total to 11, which allowed the third
place team go to the national competition…which luckily turned out to be us,”
explains Smith, a senior in architectural engineering from St. Joseph, Mo.