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University of Illinois

More than 175 Attend 2nd Annual Bridge Busting Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2014

PLANO, Ill. – 4-H'ers, school students, families and residents from DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties put their engineering skills to the test in the Second Annual Bridge Busting Competition on Saturday, Jan. 11 in Plano.

More than 175 people attended this year's competition sponsored by University of Illinois Extension and Rural King store in Plano and hosted by the Fox Valley Family YMCA. For weeks, registered teams had been designing and building their entries, and on Jan. 11, more than 25 teams competed in aesthetics and strength in four divisions: elementary school, middle school, family and youth. Aesthetics is judged on provided specifications, quality of craftsmanship, sound structural design and originality. Strength is determined by an efficiency calculation based on maximum weight supported and the weight of the bridge.

The father-son duo of Jeff and Austin Nakaerts of Plainfield took home the top prizes of Overall Aesthetics and Overall Strength, after winning first place for both in the Family Division. The team's bridge included arched features, and held more than 34 pounds with a total rating of 339.647.

In the Middle School Division, a Downers Grove school's all-female team earned first place in both aesthetics and strength. O'Neill Middle School Team No. 1 members are: Erica Alves, Kelly Lyons, Jillian Paladino, Abby Carlson and Emma Ansah. As well as winning for design, their bridge held 32.1 pounds and earned a total rating of 308.983. O'Neill Middle School also had its Team No. 3 place second for strength and Team No. 4 finish third for aesthetics.

"We had another fantastic year of creative bridge designs and tough competition," said Jo Ann Britton, 4-H and Youth Development Program Coordinator with University of Illinois Extension. "The Bridge Busting Competition provides area youth, students and families with a unique way to challenge their brains while having fun."

During the judging, attendees and teams learned about real-world bridge design from Monica Crinion, who is a former DuPage County 4-H member and a senior engineer at Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. in Aurora. They also had the opportunity to test out the 4-H National Youth Science Day project, Maps and Apps.

The full results of the 2014 Bridge Bust are as follows:

Family Division: Aesthetics: First place: Nakaert Family of Plainfield; Second place: Hill Family of Minooka; and Third place: Undesser Family of Plano. Strength: First place: Nakaert Family, Second place: Undesser Family, and Third place: Olson Family of Sandwich

Youth Division: Aesthetics: First place: Sander/Esposito Team of Yorkville; Second place: DeVol/Shimp Team of Yorkville. Strength: First place: DeVol/Shimp Team; Second place: Sander/Esposito Team.

Elementary School Division: Aesthetics: First place: Yorkville Intermediate School, Team No. 1; Second place: Yorkville Intermediate School, Team No. 2; Third place: Grand Reserve Elementary School (Yorkville), Team No. 2. Strength: First place: Grand Reserve Elementary School, Team No. 1; Second place: Grand Reserve Elementary School, Team No. 2; Third place: Yorkville Intermediate School, Team No. 2.

Middle School Division: Aesthetics: First place: O'Neill Middle School (Downers Grove), Team No. 1; Second place: Thompson Junior High School (Oswego), Team No. 1; Third place: O'Neill Middle School, Team No. 4. Strength: First place: O'Neill Middle School, Team No. 1; Second place: O'Neill Middle School, Team No. 3; Third place: Yorkville Middle School, Team No. 1.

This fun, educational event was sponsored by University of Illinois Extension, with cooperation and materials from Rural King and hosted by the Fox Valley Family YMCA. Judges for the event were from the University of Illinois American Society of Civil Engineers: Mark Keller, Trevor Murphy and Cody Wittenkeller.

"We are very grateful to our partners, volunteers and guests for making this second annual event a great success," Britton said. "We are already starting to plan for the next one!"

For more information about the event or local 4-H and Youth Development programs, contact your county Extension office, or visit web.extension.illinois.edu/dkk/. University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs and research-based information to help Illinois residents improve their quality of life, develop skills and solve problems.

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