Trebuchet Competition

About the Trebuchet Competition

photo of a student competing in the trebuchet competitionThe Wright State University Trebuchet Competition was first held in 1999 as a competition to see who could build a trebuchet that could throw the farthest distance and with the most accuracy. The first competition was held in Wright State's Student Union as part of the National Engineers Week festivities and the TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) competition.

In 2001, the Trebuchet Competition format was changed to that of a tournament style event. As a result, the Competition was moved to the Ervin J. Nutter Center and held in a more spacious area, the McLin Gym. Student teams, consisting of six members and four trebuchets each, challenged one another to see whose trebuchets would net them the title of "Trebuchet Competition Champions." 2002 and 2003 Competitions were also held in McLin. In 2004, the Trebuchet Competition outgrew the McLin Gym and was moved to the Nutter Center's Main Arena.

With each passing year, the Trebuchet Competition has won more and more interest from high school students throughout the Miami Valley region.

If you're not sure where to get started, you may wish to consult the Trebuchet Design Guide (PDF) for more information.


Benefits

  1. Provides a Higher Level of Learning: A trebuchet serves as a better educational tool than a simple bridge because the degree of sophistication necessary to analyze a bridge under ideal conditions can be quite challenging to the high school student who is studying mechanical engineering. As a result, it is highly likely that bridge designs may be based on hunches rather than on understanding. In addition, bridges are static, meaning they don't move much, so there's probably not a lot of classroom teaching going on. On the other hand, trebuchets are dynamic. They are fun to build and exciting to operate. Through the trebuchet, students can relate to the concepts of kinetic energy, potential energy, conservation of energy, machine efficiency, projectile motion, and more!
  2. Real-time Learning: In a bridge competition, bridges that are tested are broken. Trebuchets can be tested and modified to work better and are never broken in the process. A much more rapid iterative design experience is the result, and every student walks away with a working trophy.
  3. Fosters Good Team Dynamics: Teams work together in the design stages, incorporating competition strategies into their trebuchet designs. Good game plans make victory that much more likely; however, great game plans make champions!
  4. Excitement. Nothing helps learning like excitement. Student quotes from past years include, "This was the best part of senior year!" and "Before this, I didn't know what I wanted to do. Now, I know... I want to be an engineer!" From audience members, "Man, this is so much fun to watch, you could charge admission!"
  5. Low-cost: The Trebuchet Competition is designed to be inexpensive yet provide the educational value and excitement of more costly events. For instance, trebuchets can be made from scrap materials found in typical households. One of the most competitive trebuchets was made almost completely of cardboard!
  6. Encourages Interaction with WSU Students and Faculty: Wright State students and faculty serve as volunteers to make the Trebuchet Competition a success. In addition to serving as judges, referees, scorekeepers, and director's assistants, they also love to talk about engineering at Wright State University and welcome any questions high school students may have about engineering as a college major or career choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What's a Treb-u-what?

    A trebuchet, pronounced treb-u-shay, was used in medieval times as a weapon to catapult heavy stones at enemy fortifications.

  • What then, exactly, is the Trebuchet Competition?

    The Trebuchet Competition is a dynamic and thrilling sporting event in which student teams use trebuchets--which they design and construct as a classroom project--for hurling (no, not heavy stones, but lightweight squash balls) at the opposing team's trebuchet or flag.

    Through a series of team matches, students put their trebuchets and game-winning strategies to the test, with winners advancing to the big tournament and trying to win bragging rights as the "Trebuchet Competition Champions!"

  • Where Does The Trebuchet Competition Really Begin... and What Do Students Learn?

    For each and every trebuchet team, the Trebuchet Competition begins in the classroom, where students first learn about the trebuchet and its place in history. Students then gain an understanding of the engineering process as they perform research to design, build, and test a working trebuchet.

    After researching the trebuchet's construction, students learn and use physics, as well as computational tools (available on the Web) to design and develop their own working trebuchets. Students perform experimental design as they try different construction concepts and vary design parameters. The construction dynamics are complex enough, and experimental design techniques and simulations prove to be invaluable.

    In building their trebuchets, students also learn about the cost, quality, time, performance, manufacturability, usability, and reliability that are required to build the subjects of their designs.

    After successfully achieving a working trebuchet, students gather into teams and learn about team structure and the value of teamwork. However, the hard work doesn't end there. Practicing together as a team becomes essential to achieving good performance on the playing field as game tactics become the deciding factor in distinguishing which is the better team.

    Come match time, trebuchets and game-winning strategies are put to the test; the excitement and drama builds as fortunes shift with each and every trebuchet shot.

  • Is a Registration Fee Required?

    No, a registration fee is not required; however, teams are responsible for the cost of building their trebuchets as well as the purchase of squash balls and protective eyewear to use during the Competition.

  • Ready to get started?

    Here is a helpful guide to trebuchet design, which covers everything from engineering design principles to the physics of the trebuchet: Trebuchet Design (PDF)


Meet the Director

Craig Baudendistel is currently a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering and also serves as the Director of Engineering Mathematics for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. He is a Wright State Alum receiving his Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering. Craig has volunteered with WSU's Trebuchet Competition for a number of years serving as an emcee, qualifying judge, and court judge.


Previous Competitions

The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams are listed below for all previous trebuchet competitions (contests from before 2001, when it wasn't a tournament, are not listed). Complete results (brackets, etc.) are available, if you really, really, really want them, by contacting the contest director.

2015

Registrants

Team name School Teacher
Bobby Trebuchet Covington High School Shaun VanSkyock
I'd Hit That Hamilton High School Mike Smith
Twinkle Fairies Hamilton High School Mike Smith
Projectile Dysfunction Hamilton High School Mike Smith
The Lobbits Upper Valley Career Center Frank Harris
The Blueticks Upper Valley Career Center Frank Harris
The Other Guys Fairborn High School Jason Couse
The Underachievers Fairborn High School Jason Couse
Lone Wolf Ponitz CTC David Andrews
Team Throw Back Ponitz CTC. David Andrews
The Castle Crashers Urbana High School Kathryn Zaborowski
Fine$$ Ponitz Career Technology Center Mr. Andrews
Blue Devils I Brookville High School Christina Davis
Blue Devils II Brookville High School Christina Davis
The Black Pearl Arlington High School Kim Cortez
The Flying Dutchman Arlington High School Kim Cortez
The Queen Anne's Revenge Arlington High School Kim Cortez
MVCTC 1 Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
MVCTC 2 Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
MVCTC 3 Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
MVCTC 4 Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
MVCTC 5 Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
Beans N Bacon Franklin City High School Jeff Blair
Arcanum 1 Arcanum Adam Kendig
Arcanum Big Mike Arcanum HS Adam Kendig
Anderson 1 Anderson High School Jeff Rodirquez
Anderson 2 Anderson High School Jeff Rodirquez
Anderson 3 Anderson High School Jeff Rodirquez

2014

1st Place

Death Unleashed
Arlington High School
Arlington, OH

Advisor: Mrs. Kim Cortez
Captain: Dexter Wilson
Members:

  • Ryan McDowell
  • Arden McMath
  • Andrew Hunter
  • Marissa Missler
  • Brittan Reichley
  • Dani Heaster
  • Justin Rose

2nd Place

Death Row
Arlington High School
Arlington, OH

Advisor: Mrs. Kim Cortez
Captain: Matt Inniger
Members:

  • Madi Mains
  • Kenna Schmehl
  • Koltin Marquart
  • Allie Begg
  • Jessica Beck
  • Erin Helms

3rd Place

The Longshots
Upper Valley Career Center
Piqua, OH

Advisor: Frank Harris
Captain: Isaiah Burton
Members:

  • Jacog Albright
  • Chip Gade
  • Sam Barga
  • Devon Frey
  • Cayman DeVaudreuil
  • Craig Poeppelman

Registrants

Team Name School Teacher
Thunder Cats Upper Valley Career Center Frank Harris
Fresher Than Febreeze Upper Valley Career Center Frank Harris
Death Unleashed Arlington High School Kim Cortez
Death Trap Arlington High School Kim Cortez
Death Row Arlington High School Kim Cortez
Arcanum 1 Arcanum High School Adam Kendig
nWoD Ponitz Carrer Technology Center David Andrews and Doug Walters
Code Black David H. Ponitz CTC David Andrews and Doug Walters
JayHawks Ponitz Career Technology Center David Andrews and Doug Walters
Flying Hippos Greenon High School Sara Brewer
The Sharp Shooters upper valley career center Frank Harris
The Longshots Upper Valley Career Center Frank Harris
Fort Loramie Fort Loramie HS Laura Schmitmeyer
Torque Hard Play Hard Carroll High School Laurie Fuhr
TJSAT Blasters Carroll High School Laurie Fuhr
Tworque Team Carroll High School Laurie Fuhr
Blue Devils Parkway Middle School  
Skyhawks 1 Fairborn Jeff Couse
Skyhawks 2 Fairborn Jeff Couse
Dream Team Supreme David H. Ponitz CTC Mr. Dave Andrews
MVCTC 1 Miami Valley Career Center Eric Houston
MVCTC 2 Miami Valley Career Center Eric Houston
MVCTC 3 Miami Valley Career Center Eric Houston
MVCTC 4 Miami Valley Career Center Eric Houston

2012

1st Place

RRRDT
Ponitz CTC
Dayton, OH

2nd Place

Heavy Artillery
Arlington High School
Arlington, OH

3rd Place

MVCTC1
Miami Valley CTC
Dayton, OH

2011

1st Place

Team LDS Again
Fairborn High School

2nd Place

Skyhawks 4
Fairborn High School

3rd Place

Skyhawks 2
Fairborn High School

Complete 2011 Results (PDF)

Registrants

Team Name School Teacher
Brookville 1 Brookville High School Christina Davis
Brookville 2 Brookville High School Christina Davis
A.S.E.C. Butler High School Rich Sucher
Trebuchet?? Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
Culturally Diverse Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
Snap, Crackle, Pop Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
Klein Krew #2 Centerville High School Gregg Klein
Klein Krew #1 Centerville High School Gregg Klein
Klein Krew #3 Centerville High School Gregg Klein
The King of Queens Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
Under Over-Achievers Chillicothe High School Josh Queen
The Flying Squirrels Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
Pretty Pink Princesses Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
Senioritis Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
Team Reptar Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
Team Fiigha Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
The Whitt's Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
Ken and the Barbies Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
All the Queen's Men Chillicothe High School Mr. Queen
The Boondocks Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
The Foxy Five Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
The Boomslangers Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
Squash You Chillicothe High School Joshua Queen
Pink Panther David H. Ponitz Career Technology Center Dave Andrews/ Dan Markley
T3D (TED) David H. Ponitz Career Technology Center David Andrews
Team LDS Again Fairborn High School Bob Kaiser
Skyhawks 4 Fairborn High School Bob Kaiser
Skyhawks 5 Fairborn High School Bob Kaiser
Skyhawks 2 Fairborn High School Bob Kaiser
Skyhawks 3 Fairborn High School Bob Kaiser
BAD TADS Greenon High School Ms. Sara Brewer
Rock'em Sock'em Robochets Greenon High School Ms. Sara Brewer
Flying Hippos Greenon High School Ms. Sara Brewer
Two Guys One Treb Hamilton High School Mike Smith
Wiz Kids Hamilton High School Mike Smith
TrebuNazis Hamilton High School Mike Smtih
E-Lemon-ators Kenton Ridge High School John Woodason
Da Slams Kenton Ridge High School John Woodason
Foley's Foes Kenton Ridge High School John Woodason
Bennetts Beastly Boys Kenton Ridge High School John Woodason
Senior Shooters Kenton Ridge High School John Woodason
Shovers Crew Kenton Ridge High School John Woodason
LB # 4 Liberty-Benton HS Martha Boyd
LB #2 Liberty-Benton HS Martha Boyd
LB # 5 Liberty-Benton HS Martha Boyd
LB/Arlington #1 Liberty-Benton HS/Arlington HS Martha Boyd/Kim Cortez
LB #3 Liberty-Benton HS/Arlington HS Martha Boyd/Kim Cortez
Miami Trace Team 4 Miami Trace High School Jacqui Montgomery
Miami Trace Team 9 Miami Trace High School Jacqui Montgomery
Miami Trace Team 3 Miami Trace High School Jacqui Montgomery
Miami Trace Team 6 Miami Trace High School Jacqui Montgomery
Miami Trace Team 5 Miami Trace High School Jacqui Montgomery
Miami Trace Team 8 Miami Trace High School Jacqui Montgomery
Miami Trace Team 7 Miami Trace High School Jacqui Montgomery
Miami Trace 1 Miami Trace High School Jacqui Montgomery
Miami Trace Team 2 Miami Trace High School Jacqui Montgomery
MVCTC2 Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
MVCTC3 Miami Valley CTC Steve Yeagle
MVCTC5 Miami Valley CTC Steve Yeagle
MVCTC6 Miami Valley CTC Steve Yeagle
MVCTC7 Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
MVCTC8 Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
MVCTC1 Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
MVCTC4 Miami Valley CTC Steve Yeagle
Gondor Ohio Hi Point Career Center Andrew Pinkerton
Swag Performance Ponitz C.T.C Doug Walters
The Gladiators Ponitz CTC David Andrews
Team Hans St Henry High School Mr Wenning
Alpha Squadron St Henry High School Mr Wenning
Cougar -Chets Thurgood Marshall John Ciprian/Henry Noble
UVJVS TEAM 3 - STAMPER UPPER VALLEY JVS STEVE STAMPER
Team Apprentice Upper Valley JVS Frank Harris
UVJVS Team 2 - Juniors Upper Valley JVS D. Hance
UVJVS Team 1 - Seniors Upper Valley JVS D. Hance
Eagles Walnut Hills High School Karen Rowe
Team Dottie Xenia High School David Oldiges

Videos

2010

1st Place

Arlington Team 1
Arlington High School

2nd Place (tie)

Cougars #3
Kenton Ridge

2nd Place (tie)

Barney and Friends
Carroll

Complete 2010 Results (PDF)

Registrants

Team Name School Teacher
Fist Pumpin' Physics Alter High School Michael Thuente
The Bachelor Alter High School Mr. Thuente
Here be dragons Alter High School Mr. Thuente
Alaskan Pipeliners Alter High School Mr. Thuente
We're doing this to get out of school Alter High School Mr. Thuente
The Lumberjacks Archbishop Alter High School Mr. Thuente
TRY AGAINS Archbishop Alter High School Mr. Thuente
Make Me a Sammich! Archbishop Alter High School Michael Thuente
Dumbledore's Army Archbishop Alter High School Michael Thuente
The Albergators Archbishop Alter High School Michael Thuente
Arlington 2 Arlington High School Kim Cortez
Arlington 1 Arlington High School Kim Cortez
Barney and Friends Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
Da Bears Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
Teenage Mutant Ninjaturtles Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
You People Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
Sweet and Sassy Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
42 Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
Brute Force Cleveland Central Catholic Ms. Amanda Corrigan
FTs Fairborn HS Bob Kaiser
McBurgerTown Fairborn HS Bob Kaiser
Team America Fairborn HS Bob Kaiser
Team LDS Fairborn HS Bob Kaiser
Border Patrol Fairborn HS Bob Kaiser
The Throwbacks Galion High School Science Club Fred G. Rinehart
Cougars #1 Kenton Ridge H.S. J. Woodason
Cougars #3 Kenton Ridge H.S. J. Woodason
Cougars #2 Kenton Ridge H.S. J. Woodason
MVCTC 2 Miami Valley CTC Steve Yeagle
MVCTC1 Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
MVCTC 3 Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
MHSCREAM Miamisburg High School Wayne King
Midevil Knights Ponitz CTC Dan Markley
The Trebuchet Massacres Ponitz CTC Mr. Andrews
Team Tool Swagg Ponitz CTC David Andrews
Team S.C.U.B.A. Tolles Career and Technical Center James Ruble
Hellz Rain Tolles Career and Technical Center James Ruble
UVJVS Team 2 UPPER Valley JVS Dennis Hance
UVJVS Team 3 Upper Valley JVS Dennis Hance
UVJVS Team 1 Upper Valley JVS Dennis Hance
The Wu-Tang Clan Wapakoneta High School Tom Moyer
Moy Toy's Sack Searchers Wapakoneta High School Tom Moyer

2009

1st Place

Squashems
Kenton Ridge

2nd Place

Teachers: kat,pult
Miami Trace

3rd Place

Dan's Trebuchet Farm
Carroll

Complete 2009 Results (PDF)

Registrants

Team Name School Teacher
Magic Jack Tech Support Apollo Career Center Mike DuBois
White Lightning Apollo Career Center Mike DuBois
Apollo 1 Apollo Career Center Mike DuBois
Los Muertos Apollo Career Center Mike DuBois
Death Squad Arlington High School Kim Cortez
The X Factor Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
Dan's Trebuchet Farm Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
Team Moneyshot Carroll High School Jeff Bohrer
WIND-MILLS KENTON RIDGE HS - IND TECH II J W MILLS III
COUGAR CRAZIES KENTON RIDGE HS - IND TECH II J W MILLS III
SQUASHEMS KENTON RIDGE HS - IND TECH II J W MILLS III
STONEHENGE HITMEN KENTON RIDGE HS - IND TECH II J W MILLS III
Teachers: kat¸pult Miami Trace High School Jacqui Montgomery
Team Ramrod Miami Trace High School Jacqui Montgomery
Miami Valley CTC Miami Valley CTC Eric Houston
Master Chief Patterson Career Center David Andrews
So Icey Ent. Patterson Career Center David Andrews
UVJVS Team 4 Upper Valley JVS D. Hance
UVJVS Team 3 Upper Valley JVS D. Hance
UVJVS Team 2 Upper Valley JVS D. Hance
UVJVS Team 1 Upper Valley JVS D. Hance
Urbana I Urbana High School Jim Zaborowski
Urbana II Urbana HS Jim Zaborowski
Team Lake Titicaca Wapakoneta High School Tom Moyer