Lincoln-Way students participate in Regional Bridge Building Competition in Chicago
Monday, January 29, 2018

The Chicago 2018 Regional Bridge Contest took place at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) on Tuesday, January 23. Participants from all three Lincoln-Way campuses represented their schools well, designing bridges made from balsa wood which were able to hold up to 45 kilograms—or just under 100 pounds—of mass.

Winners of the competition are ranked by bridge efficiency, which is determined by the ratio between the bridge mass and how much the bridge can hold before breaking. All Lincoln-Way students competed against the best scholastic bridge builders from Illinois. A total of 32 bridges were entered into the 2018 Regional Bridge Contest.

Sponsors from Lincoln-Way included engineering physics teachers from each building; the top four student finishers from each school’s annual Bridge Competition, held in December of 2017, were invited to participate in the Regional Bridge Competition.

Lincoln-Way Central's Sydney Samolska, Casey Dudek and Daniel Clark placed 12th, 13th and 14th respectively. Student Joe Fulkerson rounded out another successful bridge building season placing 24th.

"It is amazing watching all the hard work and engineering being destroyed," says teacher Todd Drumheller.

At Lincoln-Way East, student Hunter Sakiewicz second place overall with bridge efficiency of 3552. Spencer Martin took fourth place overall, Ryan Utt took fifth place overall and Will Cooley took sixth place overall.

Competing from West were students Jack Taylor, Ben Radeke, Hunter Lash and Sam Stencel. Warrior Jack Taylor finished third overall. "I was nervous loading the bridge, but it was also exhilarating because there was so much load,” says Taylor. “I jumped when the judge got excited and clapped because I thought the bridge had collapsed." His classmates Hunter Lash, Ben Radeke and Sam Stencel took 11th, 21st and 31st place respectively.

"During design we talk about how the bridges are likely to behave, such as buckling of compression members and twisting of the bridge. We discuss how to prevent those movements,” says teacher Chester Szmurlo. “When students test their practice bridges, they realize the modifications that are needed to make their bridge better. It's gratifying to watch this learning process.”