Students from Connellsville ( Pa.) Junior High School West won the 18 th annual Pumpkin Drop Friday, Oct. 28, at West Virginia University.

Students who took home the $50 grand prize included Grant Brady, Laura Husband, Christian McIlwain, Abby Merendino, Paige Vanek and Trey Vanek. Their winning pumpkin plunged 11 stories and landed closest to the target intacta mere foot away.

Suncrest Middle School TAG (The Academically Gifted) students finished second, placing their pumpkin 2 feet, 4 inches from the target. Team members Elizabeth Duarte, Sara Harper, Stephanie Schmitt and Kristen Selin will share a $30 dollar prize.

Meanwhile, students from Trinity High School came in third place with a pumpkin that landed 3 feet, 7 inches from the target. Robert Audia, Brian Friend, Tara Green, Sarah Keller, Hunter McFadden and Sharon Murphy claimed a $20 prize.

Some 130 teams paraded to the top of the WVU Engineering Sciences Building, the tallest structure on the Evansdale Campus, to hurl their pumpkins toward the target. Twenty of the pumpkins landed without breaking.

The objective of the annual event is to design and build a package that prevents a pumpkin from breaking when it hits the ground. The contest is open to students from WVU and area public schools.

Besides providing fun on a fall afternoon, the Pumpkin Drop also raised $1,500 for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, which provides lodging for families of hospitalized children. The proceeds come from a $10 entry fee.

The WVU student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers sponsored the event.