A team of winter-minded Memorial engineering students competed in the 44th annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) in Kitchener, Ont., from Jan. 24-28.
The GNCTR is the oldest and largest student-run engineering competition in Canada, challenging over 450 engineering students to design, build and safely race toboggans with a running surface made entirely of concrete.
Since part of the competition is to choose themes for the sleds, the students dressed as mummers, naming themselves Team ‘MUMMorial’ and their sled, The Ugly Stick.
Team MUMMmorial, which consisted of 18 civil engineering students and two mechanical engineering students, was one of 19 teams from across Canada and the U.S. to compete in GNCTR 2018, which tasked students to design and build a toboggan with concrete runners that has a fully functioning steering and braking system, weighs less than 350 pounds and handles an impact at 65 kilometres per hour. The competition included three events – Drag Race, Slalom and King of the Hill.
While The Ugly Stick wasn’t one of the six toboggans to cross the finish line, it did make it one third of the way down the hill and got through one gate in the slalom event. The team also won two awards: Best New Team and People’s Choice.
“I am super proud of everyone on the team for signing up for something we knew very little about,” said Molly Noseworthy, team co-captain.
“Even though our toboggan didn’t cross the finish line, we felt that it stood up against the other toboggans and we learned so much and have ideas on how to improve the sled for next year’s competition and how to configure the riders in the sled to maximize results.”
To prepare for the competition, the team met weekly to work on the aluminum design and tackle administrative tasks such as sponsorships, fundraising and a technical report.
“We were a new, and relatively small, team and to attend a banquet among 500 engineering students and to be chosen as the People’s Choice was rewarding,” said Ms. Noseworthy.
This is the fourth year that students from Memorial have competed in the race and say they are super-stoked to compete again next year.