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Sac State civil engineer squad sweeps competition


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Finishing first is becoming a tradition for Sacramento State’s civil engineers.

For the fourth time in the last five years, Sac State has won the design competition sponsored by the Structural Engineers Association of Central California (SEAOCC). The award ceremony was held Tuesday, Nov. 13, during the professional organization’s monthly meeting in Sacramento.

CE winners

Sacramento State’s champion civil engineering team.

The Hornet squad – Chris Ellicock, Adam Youngson, Nick Hamann, Alban Gjongecaj, Max Hardy and Vandalist Kith – outclassed competitors from UC Davis, University of the Pacific and Chico State.

Professor Ben Fell, who advises the civil engineering students, is proud of this year’s showing because three of the team members are new. It’s also the third consecutive year the campus has hosted the competition in the structures lab, allowing Sac State to showcase its facility.

Fell deserves credit for revitalizing University interest in the competition. Since coming to Sac State in 2008, he has promoted the event, selected the teams and honed the students’ skills.

“If the structure looks somewhat bizarre, it’s because the squad was given a 7-by-2(-inch) envelope in which to build, plus a rectangular opening (on the left) that had to be clear of any members,” Fell says. The team confronted “time constraints and minimal building material, so plywood was used in place of steel nail plates, commonly used at wood-to-wood member connections.”

Rising to the challenge, Sac State’s squad narrowly achieved the highest maximum force capacity load during testing, which accounted for 80 percent of the final score. This means the competition came down to the remaining 20 percent in which the team presented its design. Suffice it to say that the team made a convincing case to the judges.

Sac State’s winning team received a plaque, a $1,000 check and, more significant, recognition of SEAOCC, which serves structural engineers and communities in Nevada and the inland areas of central and northern California.

For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

– Alan Miller