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Mizzou Engineering geotechnical team reinforces success

Geotechnical team leader Daniel Huaco cuts strips of paper to reinforce Mizzou Engineering’s winning retaining wall during a regional competition.

Having taken top honors in another civil engineering competition, the Mizzou Engineering geotechnical team plans to apply this year to become an official university organization.

“We’ve been competing—and winning—regularly for three years, and we’d like to get the university’s official backing for our group,” said team leader Daniel Huaco, a civil engineering graduate student.

Huaco and civil engineering students Wyatt Jenkins, a sophomore, and Sarah Grant, a junior, joined forces as an informal team last January to compete in retaining wall-building competitions. Competing geotechnical teams strive to build the strongest wall—with the least amount of reinforcement—out of poster board and paper.

Mizzou’s team won the American Society of Civil Engineers regional geotechnical competition held April 18 at the University of Arkansas, adding to Mizzou’s handful of victories over the last three years.

Team members described the contest as among the most challenging they have encountered, citing limited tools and a short time frame. They credited their win to extensive training.

“It was a great feeling, because some of the best engineering schools in the area were in attendance,” Jenkins said.

The team will seek to transform their informal group into an official MU student organization over the summer. Official status will help generate interest in the team, as well as provide funding for equipment and materials, Grant said.

“The more students, knowledge and ideas on the team, the better,” she said.