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Two very determined defending champions, a dash of friendly sibling rivalry and a home team hungry for victory spelled the recipe for a dramatic finish at the 35th annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Heavyweight competition at Okanagan College.
The bridge built by Justin Dessert and Hanya Riddick withstood an impressive 223.61 kg of load on the College’s Fettucine Fault Line scale before it exploded. The Grade 9 duo earned first place in the competition – and the top prize of $1,500 – for the second year running. Last year, their bridge withstood 255.06 kg of load.
“We went with a similar design this year – a simple arch with spokes – but we made a few tweaks,” explains Dessert, who hopes to be a teacher one day and whose life-long interest in science has continued to grow as a result of the competition. “We used fewer noodles and smaller noodles, which made the bridge a little lighter.”
The pair have already agreed they’ll try for a Spaghetti Bridge three-peat.
“We’ll definitely be back next year,” says Dessert. “Hopefully we’ll be able to build one that beats all our previous bridges.”
Adding to the fun of the competition for Dessert, this year marks the second year in a row he has vied with his brother for best bridge.
Dessert’s older brother James, a Grade 12 student at Charles Bloom and last year’s runner up, once again took home second place. His bridge withstood 159.39 kg this year before shattering in front of a packed lecture theatre at the Kelowna campus.
The team of Keyvan Khadem, Gavin Saini, Ahmed Ramadan, Harvey Mann, and Jordan Van Drimmelen of Okanagan College settled for a disappointing third place after their bridge crumbled early on under 36.48 kg of load.
Justin and James weren’t the only Desserts thrilling the crowd. Their sister Julia took top spot in the Secondary category.
It was a day of competition marked by sweeps. Students from Eagle River Secondary in Sicamous landed in second, third, fourth and fifth place in the Secondary category, while Salmon Arm’s King’s Christian School swept the podium in the Secondary Team Building category.
“Today’s competition came off without a hitch,” says event organizer Michelle Lowry. “Congratulations to all the competitors – they represented themselves and their schools so well. We saw a lot of good sportsmanship and good citizenship today.”
Prize money for the event is generously provided by the event’s sponsors: the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC), PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc., CTQ Consultants Ltd., Multi Power Products, Okanagan College Students’ Union, Interior Testing Services Ltd. and OP Machine Ltd.
First –Justin Dessert and Hanya Riddick (Charles Bloom Secondary)
Bridge weighed 784.4 grams
Bridge held 223.61 kg
Second – James Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)
Bridge weighed 888.7 grams
Bridge held 159.39 kg
Third – Keyvan Khadem, Gavin Saini, Ahmed Ramadan, Harvey Mann, Jordan L (Okanagan College)
Bridge weighed 999.2 grams
Bridge held 36.48 kg
First – Julia Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)
Second – Tommy Bland, Jake Erbo (Eagle River Secondary)
Third – Emily Gordon (Eagle River Secondary)
Fourth – Hunter Martin, Bryce Mayer (Eagle River Secondary)
Fifth – Thomas Tune, Alyssia Phommakaskione, Paxton Watson (Eagle River Secondary)
Secondary Team Building
First – Sarah Congdon, Ashley Koop (King’s Christian School)
Second – Rudi Fink, Joel de Hoog (King’s Christian School)
Third – Jacob DeWitt, Brenton Huntington, Tyson Kamstra (King’s Christian School)
Post-Secondary Team Building
First – Josh Richardson, Matt Dreger, John Navratil, Evan Geck (Okanagan College)