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First Timers Take First Place in Concrete Canoe Competition Qualifier
UMD civil engineering students test the waters.

While the national Concrete Canoe Competition, sponsored annually by the American Society of Civil Engineers, has been around for nearly three decades, one university entrant is getting its feet wet, so to speak, for the first time in seven years.

On June 22, Drexel University in Philadelphia will welcome teams from around the country to race canoes in the Schuylkill River that were designed and built out of concrete back on campus. This year is the first time the University of Maryland will be competing since 1996. The Maryland team of ten students won the regional competition in April and are gearing up for the national competition.

The squad is led by Michael Hudak, a junior civil engineering major, who got involved mainly for the challenge. Hudak, 22, is from Hagerstown, Md. and came to UMD for its civil engineering program and the sports.

The 10-member team worked round-the-clock on its canoe.

Hudak assumed the role of project manager on the concrete canoe team. He split the group into three committees: canoe design, presentation and design report, and mix design, which was led by Jack Kwait-Blank, another civil engineering major. In leading canoe mix design, Kwait-Blank says he "had to find the recipe. I called different compa

The concrete canoe competition isn’t the only thing keeping these two aspiring engineers busy. Both are interning with civil engineering firms this summer. Hudak is working under a project manager at Bovis Lend Lease in Bethesda, Md. Kwait-Blank is working in College Park, Md., for Forester Construction, where he is interning at the University of Maryland Health Center Site.

As for the competition, “Our canoe is on the heavier side,” Hudak says. “I think we’ll do well as a team… I think we’ll hold our own.


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