THEA Announces Winners of the 2022 USF – SE Bridge Building Competition

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) announced the winners of this year’s annual Bridge Building Competition at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Engineering. The event took place at USF’s Engineering Expo on Saturday, February 19, 2022. Each year, the event is open to middle and high school students living in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties. And, for the first time this year elementary school students also joined the competition. Student teams compete to make the strongest bridge, made of balsa wood and glue, before collapsing under pressure. The winning bridge is able to withstand the most amount of pressure before breaking.

The Bridge Building Competition supports THEA’s engagement with the Selmon S.T.E.M. Scholarship (S3) Program. This program was designed in honor of the late Lee Roy Selmon, a National Football League Hall of Fame member and the former Athletic Director at USF. Mr. Selmon created the S3 program to further students’ academic careers and encourage them to seek a STEM degree and THEA continues to support this mission.

“This event showcases what is possible when kids come together as a team, sharing ideas and collaborating in a way that is fun and creative within the structure of STEM learning and engineering philosophies,” said THEA Executive Director/CEO Greg Slater.

This year the competition had a good turnout with students, supporters, and visitors at the USF Engineering Expo, making this an exciting event and valuable experience for all participants. There was also an interactive display that was featured in the Engineering Expo on Friday, which explained the project and allowed students, parents, and teachers to learn more about the Balsa Bridge Competition. The winning teams are listed below:

Bridge Building Competition Winners

1st Place High School: Gaither High School, Team Hermes Watchmen, 339 pounds of pressure

2nd Place High School: Gaither High School, Earth, Wind, Fire & Plasma, 116 pounds of pressure

1st Place Middle School: Terrace Community Middle School, Team Turtle L3, 276 pounds of pressure

2nd Place Middle School: Terrace Community Middle School, Team Landon Bridge, 212 pounds of pressure

Honorable Mentions: 

ZAD, 200 pounds of pressure and Bridgezoid, 193 pounds of pressure

1st Place Elementary School: Cimino Elementary, Team ASJD, 83 pounds of pressure

2nd Place Elementary School:  Cimino Elementary, Team Link Bros, 82 pounds of pressure

See all photos on our Facebook Photo Album