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Emma Halstead, a student at Duluth East High School, pours sand into a bucket attached to cables on her friend Taylor Davidson's bridge as fellow students wait in anticipation for it to reach its load limit. Ten regional high schools participated in the annual ASCE Toothpick Bridge Contest at the University of Minnesota Duluth on Wednesday. Davidson's bridge carried a load of 80.6 pounds before breaking. (Bob King /

For Northland high school students, it's a test of the trusses

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Sierra Offersen was quick to answer when asked how long it took her to build her elegant toothpick bridge.

"Thirty hours," the ninth-grader from Hermantown said.


It was easy to calculate because that's how many episodes of the television show "Supernatural" she watched at home while gluing hundreds of toothpicks into the form of her bridge.

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