Dec 8 2012
05:39 pm
By: fischbobber  shortURL

Today was the regional competition for TSA. Regionals are generally somewhat low-key and are more about seeing the local competition than anything else.

Karns, Bearden Middle, and Robertson Middle appear to be the strongest teams this year. Once again, I worked concessions, though this year my wife worked it with me so she could correct all the mistakes I was making.

I thoroughly enjoy academic competition. Listening to the kids stories, both in triumph and defeat, is like listening to sports radio about academics. ("Dude, you forgot to count the neutrons, duh! What were you thinking?!")

On a personal note my son's structural engineering team built a structure that withstood 765 pounds of force to win the competition. Second place built a structure that withstood 120 pounds of force. No one but Bearden got to 120 lbs. last year at state and Bearden was disqualified. 500 lbs. is considered the benchmark that is the edge of what's possible and 765 may well be a national record. At this point, the number seems so unbelievable, I feel like I was at Mexico City watching Bob Beamon.

I will post the results as I find them online.

All the kids did an outstanding job and working these events is always a pleasure. Go Bruins!

fischbobber's picture


The structure in question consisted of 14.1 grams of balsa wood held together by chemical bonding glue.

My son was outraged that I wasn't specific about the parameters of the contest and is convinced everyone thinks he built his structure out of hickory posts and rail spikes.

I apologize for my journalistic shortcomings. In the future I will try to be more specific.

rikki's picture


As a former Physics Olympian, I knew you were talking about a balsa-wood structure, and I agree that 765 lbs sounds impossible. I am highly impressed and would love to see a photo of the structure.

Perhaps you should take him to the Henley Bridge community center so he can double check their designs and calculations!

onetahiti's picture

wow indeed!

Your son should be very proud. What an accomplishment!

-- OneTahiti

rsth's picture

My son also was in this

Do you have a complete list of the teams and weights they held. My son was on the Karns team, both he and his patrner are 6th graders, their bridge, I believe held 110 pounds but I am not sure.

fischbobber's picture

Results for TSA

At this point I do not have the results. My idea , however, is to try and get both the Bearden Middle and Karns Middle school advisors to give a few brief words ( or a lot of in depth words) on this thread. It is extremely rare that two schools of the national prominence of both Bearden and Karns are in the same district in anything.

I'm having difficulty finding the records for the amount of force structures withheld at any TSA competition, anywhere. I spent about an hour surfing google hits yesterday and the best I could do was an anecdotal article from North Carolina citing 200 lbs. as a state championship number.
110 lbs. is an outstanding structure, especially for a student in his first year of competition.

I would be remiss not mentioning Karn's Chapter team who once again dominated the competition. They are considered a top team at Nationals year in and year out and my son has been working diligently for the past three years trying to take their top position in this event. Alas, it was not to be, but we still have State and Nationals!

Good luck to you rsth and I'll work on this thread this week.

rsth's picture


My son and I were amazed at the 765 pounds. That has to be some kinda of record. Very impressive.

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