Anna Offenwanger and Ephraim Nowak are the 2016 spaghetti bridge heavyweight champions.

Anna Offenwanger and Ephraim Nowak are the 2016 spaghetti bridge heavyweight champions.

Students win bridge title

The 33rd annual Okanagan College Spaghetti Bridge Building Heavyweight competition came to a surprising finish



The 33rd annual Okanagan College Spaghetti Bridge Building Heavyweight competition came to a surprising finish after a series of disqualifications launched the team of Anna Offenwanger and Ephraim Nowak, from UBC Okanagan, into the top spot.

Offenwanger and Nowak were sitting in third place after each of the five entries had been put to the test on the fettuccine fault line Friday. Their bridge withstood 184.3 kilograms of load before exploding in front of a packed theatre at the Kelowna campus.

Two teams from Charles Bloom Secondary in Lumby presented bridges that performed better but were disqualified due to a rule violation. Brendan Mattenley’s bridge held 258.9 kilograms of load and the team of Justin Dessert and Hanya Riddick built a bridge that made it to 244.5 kilograms. But neither of those bridges qualified for the top prizes.

“The competition ended in an unexpected way,” said Andrew Hay, vice-president of education.

“We have a very specific set of rules that we apply evenly to all of the bridges that enter the competition. This year, we had two wonderfully designed bridges that had some continuous strands of glue securing the pasta. Sadly, the rules specify that is not allowed. It’s unfortunate to see students who work so hard on this kind of project turned away without a prize; we know how much effort they put into building these spectacular structures. Certainly the students were not attempting to gain any advantage. It was simply a case of not fully understanding the rigidity of the rules. When you are pushing the limits of engineering design, some unique solutions emerge, and we commend the students for their level of innovation.”

The team from UBC Okanagan took home the top prize of $1,500. The second place prize went to James Dessert, from Charles Bloom Secondary. His bridge withstood 128.3 kilogram. Third place was not awarded, as the other bridges tested did not make the minimum threshold of 10 kilograms of load.

The spaghetti bridge heavyweight world record of 443.58 kilograms was established in Kelowna in 2009 by a team from Hungary and continues to be undefeated.

Hundreds of other students put their engineering skills to the test in other categories.

Team Building, Secondary

First – Esther Drysdale and Shale Nierman (Charles Bloom Secondary)

Second – Madison Dewitt and Paul Unger (King’s Christian School)

Third- Marissa Brandsma and Jessica Roodzant (King’s Christian School)

Individual Secondary

First – James Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)

Second– Hanya Riddick (Charles Bloom Secondary)

Third – Justin Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)