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Toothpick bridges put to the test

Nabiha Chaudhry (left), with assistance from her classmate Anna Imes, fills a bucket attached to Chaudhry's bridge with sand to see how much weight it will support before it breaks during the 25th annual ASCE Toothpick Bridge Contest for local high school students Thursday at the Ward Wells Field House on the UMD campus. Both students are Hermantown High School freshmen. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com1 / 2
Anna Imes' bridge snaps in two after holding a bucket with 39 pounds of sand. Imes attends Hermantown High School. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com2 / 2

More than 180 students from 13 Northland high schools took part in the 25th annual Toothpick Bridge Competition at the University of Minnesota Duluth on Thursday.

The competition, sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, featured 114 entries. The bridges needed to span at least 55 centimeters and weigh no more than 90 grams.

Hermantown’s Vera Scott built the strongest bridge, with the span holding 69.5 kilograms, or about 153 pounds. Savannah Deragon was second with 63.40 kilograms, and Kadin Graves of Hermantown was third with 57.9 kilograms.

In the most-economical bridge category — the lightest bridge to hold 10 kilograms — Cromwell-Wright’s Gage Jones, Micah Pocernich and Benjamin Hansen won with a bridge weighing just 35 grams; it held 21.24 kilograms.

Duluth East’s Grent Ellis Canete was second (46.6 grams / 26.95 kilograms), and Carlton’s Liz House, Angel Schroeder, Jaryd Soukkala and Tiara Larson were third (50.7 grams / 24 kilograms)

Before the bridges were broken, they were judged on aesthetics. The most aesthetically pleasing creation was judged to be the bridge built by Duluth Denfeld’s Gien Carlo Enriquez and Dawson McIsaac Reid, followed by Duluth East’s Hayden Stanius and Bayfield’s Ashton Chambers.