A UF group will be heading to Texas after its concrete canoe took first place last weekend.

UF’s American Society of Civil Engineers Concrete Canoe team, which is made up of about 40 UF students, competed at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Saturday and Sunday at the ASCE Southeast Regional Conference.

The 22-foot canoe cost $1,700 to build, excluding oars to row, said Teresa Lewis, a UF civil engineering senior and captain of the concrete canoe team. It took about three months to build.

The team’s win earned them a spot at the national competition in Texas this June, the 22-year-old said. UF will compete against teams from across the world, including Canada, Puerto Rico and China.

Lewis said the concrete canoe contest is always competitive.

“It’s a team project, and if you’re not always in communication with each other and always on the same page, it just won’t happen,” she said. “I have a fantastic team.”

Mayreliz Crespo-Seda, a UF civil engineering junior and member of the concrete canoe team, said she started working on a practice canoe in August. The team finished the practice model in December and started building for the competition in January.

The team tests different types of concrete to see which ones float, Crespo-Seda said. After they find one that does, canoe construction begins.

Captains of the team spend 30 or more hours a week on the canoe, the 20-year-old said.

“It’s hard work, but it’s a lot of fun, and it’s amazing when you see them race,” Crespo-Seda said.

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