The defending national champion Cal Poly Concrete Canoe Team was the team to beat at the 2023 American Society of Civil Engineers Concrete Canoe Competition at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville on June 10th through 12th — but no one could. This is their first back-to-back championship among all of their national victories.

“We just won our seventh national title!” decried Civil Engineering Senior Heather Migdal, Cal Poly team project manager and a member of the four-person paddling crew of the Oceana. Cal Poly was one of 21 university teams from the U.S. and Canada who won regional competitions, then advanced to the finals.

Cal Poly’s concrete canoes have a reputation for aesthetic interior design. This year’s theme played on the name, Oceana, and features paintings of ocean flora and fauna in true color hues.

The Cal Poly team built Oceana surprisingly light, weighing in at just 175 pounds. The lightness, along with a resilient durability, comes from the one-quarter-inch-thick, carbon fiber and fiberglass reinforced concrete hull, which measures 18 feet, 8 inches.

The Oceana team secured the overall title by finishing in the top two in each of the competition’s four sections: oral presentation; technical proposal; final product prototype; and racing. Cal Poly racked up first place finishes in the oral and technical presentations, second in the product prototype, and second in racing behind Canada’s Université Laval, who finished fourth overall in the competition.

Rounding out the top finishers were Youngstown State University in second, and the University of Florida in third.

The Cal Poly team includes Captain Heather Migdal, Clarissa Arredondo of Santa Maria, Aiden Buckingham of Bellingham, WA, Peter Cline of Modesto, Adam Loewenherz of Bellevue, WA, Jonathan Maas of San Luis Obispo, Sarah Sakakihara of Wailuku, Maui, Sarah Scherzinger of Salinas, Nicholas Toma of Alamo, and Ryan Trainoir of La Mesa. All team members are civil engineering majors, save Arredondo, who studies environmental engineering.

A tip of the hard hat goes out to the fighting team – and our friends – from the University of Nevada, Reno, (pictured above) who won the Intermountain Regionals held this year on their home “court,” the Sparks Marina, and advanced to the finals at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville to compete with the other 20 teams from across America and Canada. Go Taurus!