MCC Engineering Students Compete in Regional Catapult Contest; MCC Foursome Finishes First Overall

Christopher Torian and Kevin Anderson, Regional Catapult Contest

The team members pictured are: from left to right, Christopher Torian and Kevin Anderson. Team members not pictured include: Timothy Barry and Tyler Kerkera.

A team of four McHenry County College students finished first out of 40 teams in the 2014 Intercollegiate Catapult Competition. Yes, catapult – a device whose sole purpose is to launch things for distance and/or accuracy and maybe even hit a target. What’s not to like? The sixth-annual competition held between northern Illinois community colleges took place at Harper College.

Each of these different divisions involve the firing of a regulation-sized tennis ball using a device that must be designed and fabricated following a very prescribed list of parameters, including limitations on weight and cost. MCC’s winning team was comprised of Christopher Torian of Cary and, from Crystal Lake, Kevin Anderson, Timothy Barry, and Tyler Kerkera.

In addition to the overall first place, which is calculated by the combined scoring of three separate divisions that included distance, accuracy, and precision, MCC’s team also placed first in distance and tied for first in accuracy.

MCC applied technology instructor Bob Mihelich said he was both proud and impressed by his students’ design.

“It is worth noting,” he said, “that not only did their catapult shoot the regulation-sized tennis ball 178 feet -- 36 feet further than the second place team-- but it also hit a 32 inch diameter target at 60 feet away, which is amazing since most devices are usually designed for either distance or accuracy; their ability to quickly adjust and adapt to the required context is amazing.”

The catapult prepared for the competition represents the second of two team projects for this Engineering course in which the students design, fabricate, and document the device; a key element of the project, Mihelich said, is the final technical memorandum, which details their design process and includes the engineering specifications (drawings and bill of material) that allow for the mass production/manufacturing of the device.”

For more information on MCC’s chemistry, physics or pre-engineering classes, visit contact Steven Socol, Ph.D. at (815) 455-8714 For more information on MCC's engineering technology and applied technology courses, contact Bob Mihelich, AIA, NCARB at (815) 455-8719 or


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