“Snap, crackle, pop,” engineering team wins first place for their second year in a row at the national big beam competition
Olivia Alvord, Staff Writer
This year, Saint Martin’s University’s very own engineering team won first place in the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Big Beam Competition. This is the second year in a row that Saint Martin’s has won the competition. This is an outstanding accomplishment, as no other school has had back-to-back winners, other than Notre Dame. This year, they earned a cash prize of $2,000, as well as some additional smaller prizes. Team captains, Jarad Roschi, and Joel Rodgers led members: Luis Camacho, Carthney Laukon, Jesse San Nicholas, Tyler Sloan, Turner Kreman, and Chase Weeks, to their victory. The team did a good job competing in such a prestigious competition against many other competitors and making our small school proud.
Laukon, a senior, said the best part of the competition was, “…going to Concrete Technology Corporation to build the big beam and then a couple of days later going to UW-Seattle to do the load testing ‘breaking the beam.’ I liked it because it was very hands on and it was a good learning experience outside the classroom.”
Kreman, also a senior, shared his experience. “We were a little crunched on time and our concrete beam only had a 14-day cure. Usually you want at least 20 days, but the design, build, and testing went smoothly. When the design was finished, computer aided design (CAD) drawing was developed so our sponsor, Concrete Tech, could provide a mold. Once that was done, we made a trip to Concrete Tech in Tacoma where we assembled the mold and put in the steel reinforcement. Concrete Tech then pre-stressed the steel reinforcement and poured the concrete. After it cured, we went to UW in Seattle where we tested the beam. When you put in the effort, small schools can accomplish big things.”
Senior and one of the two team captains, Roschi, shared his thoughts on how he thought the competition went, “I think this year’s competition went much better than I originally expected. No one on the team had taken a prestressed concrete design class before so we were all learning at the same time. Our sponsors and advisors helped us learn the concepts and answered all our questions, but we still did all the work ourselves. We are the second school to earn the PCI Big Beam Title two years in a row–the first being Notre Dame. This would not be possible without the hard work of those that competed before us. Joel Rogers and I were a part of the team last year and had the privilege of leading this year’s team. We were able to take what we had learned from the previous year and apply it to this year’s team, design, and overall competition. This competition is a great opportunity for engineering students to get hands-on experience on something they learn about in-class, but rarely get to see in person while in school. This has opened up many opportunities for me, the team and the school. I hope to see our school name in the top of this competition as well as, every other competition for many years.”
The work that the team accomplished will prove very useful as they continue their education, and begin to start their careers. Being a part of this team and going through the motions of the competition and beating out many other big and prestigious schools was no easy task and it proved to be well worth it.