They tried marshmallows, tennis balls, feathers, teddy bears, inflatable rafts and buttered popcorn.

But in the end, all it took was a couple of pillows, some bubble wrap and a partially-inflated parachute to win the 22nd annual WVU Pumpkin Drop.

The team from Connellsville Senior High School in Pennsylvania won the $50 grand prize when its pumpkin survived an 11-story flop from the top of the Engineering Sciences Building, and landed only 0.9 feet from its intended target.

Three students from Suncrest Middle School – Sami Kanj, Matthew Keaton and Sita Sunil – took second place when their newspaper-wrapped pumpkin landed 1.4 feet from the target. They’ll share $25.

And four students from Morgantown High School – Suveer Shekhawat, Samet Demircan, Jessie Felde and Stephen Semmens – will split the $10 third-place prize. Their duct tape, parachute and shredded paper concoction landed 1.9 feet from the target.

Sunil, from the Suncrest team, rescued her in-tact pumpkin from the survivor’s patch before the cleaning crew (which had to sort through a mess of cardboard, foam and pulverized squash) could cart it away. She had other plans.

“I’m going to carve it,” she said.

More than 180 teams from West Virginia and Pennsylvania competed in this year’s event. It was sponsored by the WVU student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and all proceeds benefited the Ronald McDonald House.



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