ShareThis Page
News

Westmoreland County high schoolers use their noodles in engineering competition

Renatta Signorini
| Monday, March 7, 2016, 11:00 p.m.
Franklin Regional team members (from left) Tony Qin, Aaron Cockley and Henry Lin add weight to their bridge during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional team members (from left) Tony Qin, Aaron Cockley and Henry Lin add weight to their bridge during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
The Greensburg Salem team of Allie Backos and Ryan Downs (center, from left) are awarded the second-place trophy by Dr. Stephen Jodis (left) of St. Vincent College and Vince Mangini, president of Carbone's Restaurant, following the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
The Greensburg Salem team of Allie Backos and Ryan Downs (center, from left) are awarded the second-place trophy by Dr. Stephen Jodis (left) of St. Vincent College and Vince Mangini, president of Carbone's Restaurant, following the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Members of Franklin Regional Team 1 react as their bridge falls during the pasta engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Members of Franklin Regional Team 1 react as their bridge falls during the pasta engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
The Norwin team of (from left) Jessica Wunderly, Brandon Naretto and Victoria Carrick watch as their bridge holds its weight during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
The Norwin team of (from left) Jessica Wunderly, Brandon Naretto and Victoria Carrick watch as their bridge holds its weight during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Hempfield Area is awarded the first-place trophy by Dr. Stephen Jodis (left) of St. Vincent College and Vince Mangini, president of Carbone's Restaurant, following the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe. Team members are (standing from left) Luke Persin, Chase Pastor, Ty McEliece, Nick Winter, Hunter Meholic, and (kneeling) Drew Brannon.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Hempfield Area is awarded the first-place trophy by Dr. Stephen Jodis (left) of St. Vincent College and Vince Mangini, president of Carbone's Restaurant, following the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe. Team members are (standing from left) Luke Persin, Chase Pastor, Ty McEliece, Nick Winter, Hunter Meholic, and (kneeling) Drew Brannon.
Greensburg Central Catholic team members (from left) Kyle Cardella, Loukas Feher and Cody Ustazewski celebrate as their bridge holds the weight during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic team members (from left) Kyle Cardella, Loukas Feher and Cody Ustazewski celebrate as their bridge holds the weight during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
The Norwin team of (from left) Jessica Wunderly, Brandon Naretto and Victoria Carrick react as their bridge begins to fall during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
The Norwin team of (from left) Jessica Wunderly, Brandon Naretto and Victoria Carrick react as their bridge begins to fall during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Cody Ustazewski adds weight as team members (from left) Kyle Cardella and Loukas Feher look on during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Cody Ustazewski adds weight as team members (from left) Kyle Cardella and Loukas Feher look on during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Franklin Regional team members (from left) Tony Qin, Aaron Cockley and Henry Lin watch as their bridge fails to hold the weight can during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional team members (from left) Tony Qin, Aaron Cockley and Henry Lin watch as their bridge fails to hold the weight can during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Norwin's Brock Shaffer reacts as his team's bridge fails during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Brock Shaffer reacts as his team's bridge fails during the pasta bridge engineering contest on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.

It had the makings for quite the Italian feast, if only the noodles weren't saturated in hot glue.

Dozens of high schoolers used pounds of spaghetti and lasagna — cobbled together with the glue — in hopes that their pasta bridge would hold up to the test in a competition Monday night at St. Vincent College.

“We did way better than we thought we would,” said Elissa Novelli, a Franklin Regional Senior High School freshman.

But even the strongest of noodles couldn't withstand the weight.

Students from nine Westmoreland County high schools ferried their uncooked creations into the Fred Rogers Center for the 10th annual engineering competition co-sponsored by the college and Carbone's Restaurant in Crabtree.

While restaurant president Vince Mangini acknowledged that every bridge would ultimately fail, college officials called the bout a great way for young students to experiment.

“There's some inter-school competition going on, and I think that's fun,” said Paul Follansbee, engineering professor at the college.

Each team got a package of spaghetti and a box of lasagna. It was up to them to create a bridge that would not crack when increasing amounts of weight were hoisted into a bucket attached to the structure.

Some split in half quickly.

Others earned the hushed silence of the audience before giving in with a thud.

Novelli and Claire Pamerleau gingerly placed ounce after ounce into a bucket attached to their truss-style bridge created by the all-female team from Franklin Regional. Their project cracked under the pressure of 9.25 pounds.

“This was our first year,” Novelli said, planning what would work best for next year's competition.

Hempfield Area High's Chase Pastor wasn't messing around with ounce weights. The team's bridge broke with a loud crunch under 58.4 pounds of plate weights.

“We won the past two years, and we held 86 pounds last year, so we were pretty confident not having to put the little ones in,” said Pastor, a senior.

The all-male team reclaimed victory. In second place was a team from Greensburg-Salem High whose bridge withstood 37.6 pounds. They were trailed by a team from Norwin whose bridge broke under 28 pounds.

Stacks of lasagna noodles glued together made for a flexible bridge for three Greensburg Central Catholic High seniors. Their production withstood 2.6 pounds before snapping.

“All the hot glue ... it was so time-consuming,” Loukas Feher said.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me