Students from Doddridge County High School (W.Va.) won the 19th Pumpkin Drop Friday (Oct. 27) at West Virginia Universitys College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Teams from St. Marys High School of St. Marys, W.Va., and Suncrest Middle School in Morgantown placed second and third, respectively, in the annual pumpkin-tossing extravaganza that attracted some 116 teams from 24 schools.

We had a very successful event this year,said Don Lyons, a WVU mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, who emceed the event with college enrollment services coordinator Migri Prucz.

Students released packages they designed to protect their pumpkins as the fruit fell 11 stories from atop the Engineering Sciences Building on WVU s Evansdale Campus. Hundreds of spectators watched the devices, made from materials as diverse as PVC pipe, bungee cords, and toilet paper rolls, plummet toward a target on the ground. The team whose pumpkin got closest without bursting was declared the winner. Wallace Venable, WVU emeritus associate professor, measured distances.

Twenty pumpkins remained intact, and the survivors dropped by Doddridge, St. Marys and Suncrest students landed closest to take the top honors.

The Doddridge studentspumpkin landed 2 feet, 3 inches from the target to claim the $50 first place prize. Team members are Matt Robinson, Dakota Hinterer, Cody Hall, Greg Reed, and Cassidy Michaux.

St. Marys entry stopped 3 feet, 10 inches from the target to finish second. Students Samantha Smith, Holly Cline and Teira Parrish will share the $25 prize.

The device launched by the Suncrest students came in third, landing 6 feet, 2 inches from the bulls-eye. Team members are Levi Reynolds and Jeremy Lawrence. Their prize is $10.

The competition raised $1,250 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Morgantown, which provides free lodging for families of hospitalized children. The proceeds come primarily from entry fees. Additional funds were raised through the sale of Ronald McDonald House T-shirts, available at this years event for the first time.

Its been wonderful for us,said Kim George, director of Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown.WVU students have been so good to work with. The University is a good partner with us and the community.

The WVU chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources sponsored the event.

Its always great any time we get to work with the Ronald McDonald House,said ASME chapter president Jonathan Painter, a WVU junior.The Pumpkin Drop also gives us an opportunity to work with elementary, middle, and high school students, to show them what our profession is all about, and to open their eyes to another world.