SAIT GNCTR Sweeps Two More Awards

After what's already been a record-breaking award haul for our team, we were invited to the SAIT Students' Association (SAITSA) Awards. 15 members of the team attended last night for a fine banquet and one final chance to celebrate our accomplishments.

SAITSA awarded us with the Sustainability Award and the Industry Award, and we couldn't be happier. The first, which we have won two years in a row, is to honour a team that makes a consistent conscious effort to reduce SAIT's overall impact on the environment. The second goes to a team that strives to establish connections within the industry community and connect its members with people in Calgary and beyond. Winning two awards simply goes to show the strides taken by our team! The funds received for the awards will go towards the GNCTR 2019 team's endeavours.

Special congratulations go to our very own Brian Backs for winning the School of Construction Instructor of the Year Award, as well as to Parker Gavey for winning a SAITSA Apex Award for his contributions to the GNCTR team over the years.

Congratulations also to our sister club, the SAIT Mechanical Society for taking home Club of the Year — a very-much deserved honour for all the work you put into creating and running the society! Also, congratulations to Ryan Niddery (SMS - President) and Samuel Timms (ENACTUS - President) for your own personal wins this year. Thanks for how much you've helped our team — you deserved the wins!



The last hurrah! What an incredible year!

The last hurrah! What an incredible year!

We Won a SAIT President's Award!

Even with the competition 6 weeks behind us, SAIT's GNCTR team is not ready to quit showcasing their talent to Canada!

Our team was elected winners of the President's Student Leadership Award this January — a decision that was made before we even took flight for Waterloo and was kept a secret until our return and victory. The award is one of the most prestigious honours SAIT students can receive. Chosen by SAIT's presidential office from the pool of nominations, the awards are received by one individual and two clubs that demonstrate "innovation and initiative in creating opportunities or advancements for SAIT, fellow students, industry and the community," as per the SAIT website (

In late 2017, several of our teammates took time from their studies to compose compelling nominations on behalf of the team. Our efforts paid off.

The banquet was hosted Thursday night by Dr. Ross, President of SAIT. Four GNCTR team executives attended on behalf of the team, along with academic advisor Milan Niksic and SAIT GNCTR 2014 Co-President Josh Patterson, who presented the award. The night was attended by heads of SAIT, leaders in industry, and — of course — the winners. Both SAIT GNCTR and the SAIT Accounting Society (SAS) took home the Student Leadership Award, while Akhil Sharma (AT student) won then President's Medal and the Brawn Family Foundation received the President's Partnership Award.

It was an incredible event and yet another celebration of the terrific feat we won this past January. We couldn't be happier to represent SAIT on this grand of a scale!


SAIT President's Award Winners! L-R: Abigail Watt for SAIT GNCTR, Akhil Sharma, Jake Coulter (SAS)

SAIT President's Award Winners!
L-R: Abigail Watt for SAIT GNCTR, Akhil Sharma, Jake Coulter (SAS)

Making SAIT's GNCTR team proud! L-R: Parker Gavey (VP Safety & Scheduling), Abigail Watt (President), Kyle Etty (VP Concrete), Milan Niksic (Academic Advisor, Chairman), JC Campbell (Vice President), Amanda Roberts (SAIT)

Making SAIT's GNCTR team proud!
L-R: Parker Gavey (VP Safety & Scheduling), Abigail Watt (President), Kyle Etty (VP Concrete), Milan Niksic (Academic Advisor, Chairman), JC Campbell (Vice President), Amanda Roberts (SAIT)

SAIT GNCTR: Officially Newsworthy!

With more and more people learning of SAIT's success at GNCTR last month, the buzz and excitement has not yet faded away. Yesterday, several team members were treated to a celebratory brunch by SAIT's School of Manufacturing & Automation faculty. While there, we had the incredible opportunity to be interviewed by both CTV and CBC news outlets on our team.

Click here to watch the CTV interview:

That's not the only news outlet that's covered news on SAIT or the 2018 GNCTR race. For more media, follow the links below!

The winning announcement:

Race day, featuring SAIT:

The tech display, which has SAIT in the video:

CBC's article on the event:

SAIT's victory over the hosting university… from the perspective of the hosting city:


And the Winner Is… SAIT!!!!

The evening after the King of the Hill race, a banquet was held as a closing ceremony for the event. The teams gathered around, anticipating who would win what.

After the announcement of the University of Toronto as 3rd place and the University of Calgary in 2nd place, it was complete shock and awe when SAIT was crowned the winner of the competition. The moment the organizing committee declared the winner, the students broke into a complete and total uproar as the team jumped to their feet, screaming and chanting. It didn't take long for the tears to start flowing, as those who had slaved to win for up to four years raced to the stage. The acceptance speech was filled with tears and choking on words as President Abigail Watt relayed the team's gratitude, thanked the sponsors, and thanked the competitors and OC for an amazing year. It was truly a milestone and triumphant moment for the college to win the entire engineering competition.

A list of the awards is as follows, including who collected them:

  • Overall Champion (Abigail Watt, President; JC Campbell, Vice President; rest of team)
  • 1st Place: Best Superstructure Design (Landen Brockmann, Co-VP Mechanical; Wyatt Elliott, VP Fabrication)
  • 1st Place: Best Braking Performance (Tanner Ellingboe, Co-VP Mechanical; Wyatt Elliott, VP Fabrication) (there was much chanting of "Third time's the charm!" immediately after)
  • 1st Place: GNCTR Excellence in Safety (Parker Gavey, Team Co-Captain 2017, current VP Safety and Scheduling)
  • 1st Place: Best Costume Design (Austin Garrett & Monty Hart, Co-VP's Spirit; Kristy Burt, costume designer)


  • Honourable mentions:
    • 2nd Place: Best Performing Toboggan
    • 3rd Place: Best Brake Design
    • 3rd Place: Most Innovative Toboggan
    • 3rd Place: Best Technical Report
    • 3rd Place: Best Technical Presentation
    • 3rd Place: Fastest Run Time
    • 3rd Place: Best Team Spirit

It is a feat we could not have accomplished without you. Thank you for your support.


The award haul

The award haul

Meet Canada's newest engineering champions.

Meet Canada's newest engineering champions.

Last year, [we] said we had one goal, and that was to make the best team SAIT had ever seen. And they’re standing right behind me.
— Abigail Watt (acceptance speech)
Presidents of the 2017 and 2018 teams together with members of the OC.

Presidents of the 2017 and 2018 teams together with members of the OC.

Tears of joy. This picture sums up about how we all were feeling.

Tears of joy. This picture sums up about how we all were feeling.

The Race!!

The long-awaited moment came. Would we be the first team to make history?

Last year, SAIT took on 8 of Canada's top 10 engineering schools (as per Maclean's magazine) and beat all of them on the hill. This year, we had a fighting chance to be the first team to win it two years in a row.

As it turned out, our biggest obstacle would be snow conditions. Most universities had prepared for a hard, crusty ski surface. Instead, we had 7°C and rain. The snow (fake, so yes, it existed, thankfully) was slushy and thick. It sunk many hopes and dreams — literally — as 300-350lb toboggans sunk into the slushy mess and ended up coming to a halt before the finish line. Still, that did not dampen spirits.

SAIT ran fourth and was the second team to make it down the hill, clocking a 25 km/h speed, making it the third-fastest toboggan on the hill. Unfortunately, we barely crawled over the line in some races, but again, we still had a blast. At one point, the front of our toboggan crossed the line and came to a stop, our back end still hanging on the track. Beside us, the University of Toronto finally came to the finish line, passing fully over. The judges had to confer on who technically won and who was disqualified. After what felt like an eternity, SAIT was declared the winner. We went on to the next round… and watched another institute zoom past us.

In the end, the University of Calgary took home the Fastest Toboggan award, but due to unforeseen cracking, their ski and their backup ski blew out and they couldn't finish the race. Of all the students, they had the most incredible run. Lawrence Tech from the States ended up taking home King of the Hill, and we couldn't have "lost" to a more worthy competitor, coming back from a disappointing DNF last season. University of Toronto, the team we faced off with last year, came in second.

The third place was not a disappointment. Our brakes worked, and we were ecstatic. We stood by the sidelines and chanted, "Three time's the charm! Third time's the charm!" We even went so far as to refuse to exit the toboggan at the finish line after our final run just to deploy the brake one more time. We couldn't have been more thrilled to come in third. We put Alberta on the podium for the race, we were the only western team to reach Top 3, and we did our design team proud.

Historical or not, who could ask for more?


Spirits still happy despite the weather

Spirits still happy despite the weather

Winner of the fastest toboggan (we wish).

Winner of the fastest toboggan (we wish).

The first run!

The first run!

The First Day

Being in GNCTR is way more than just sending a well-engineered toboggan down the hill. First, it's about getting there. Then, it's about showcasing who exactly you are.

For a team of Calgarians traveling to Ontario, traveling is no small feat. With a required airport drop off time of 6:30 AM, the week was off to a very rapid start. Despite the lack of sleep from last-minute packing and finishing of assignments, the team was very enthusiastic to get going on the GNCTR competition.

After the teams were settled, the opening ceremonies were hosted. For the first time, all the teams met each other and got to see all the themes present throughout the competition. SAIT was able to showcase its "Boggan Powers" theme (a tobogganing spoof of the Austin Powers saga) with a new spin on the choreography of the original movie's opening credits and a filmed skit of Dr. Evil, Mini Me, and their villainous crew plotting to take over the entire GNCTR competition. The skit and dance brought cheers, laughter, and plentiful compliments from various members of the competition. It was a successful and fun start for SAIT's team, and a highlight of the first day.


The SAIT team before boarding at YYC — jerseys with thanks to SAIT's Trojans Athletics.

The SAIT team before boarding at YYC — jerseys with thanks to SAIT's Trojans Athletics.

Almost Ready for Competition!

It's been a long few weeks over the holidays but the SAIT GNCTR team is nearly ready for the competition.

Our concrete team spent the start of their break in the concrete lab for a week straight prepping the forms, mocking-up the ski mounts, and of course pouring the skis. The mixes for the race skis and back-up skis went beautifully and the CNC'd forms helped us get the perfect base to prepare for waxing. Our team wax guru, Monty, spent a long few days after New Years applying many layers of wax to get a glass like finish on the skis that will help us defend our King-of-the-Hill and Top Speed awards from Winnipeg 2017.

Our resident Red-Seal welder, Wyatt, finished up the fabrication of the superstructure and toboggan systems a few days before Christmas. In the new year, our team went to work putting the finishing touches on the toboggan such as a paint job, covering up that paint job with foam, covering up that foam with decorative tape, and installing some great looking Carbon Fiber/Biomid side panels.

Shaking off the New Year's Eve hangover, the tech display team dragged themselves over to the lab to finally build the display. Spending most of the time literally watching paint dry, spirit was in full swing with trips to get costumes, chanting, and rehearsing the skit. Shout-out to our first-year Emery for the amazing paint job.

Packed Crate.jpg

Everything is now packed tightly in our crate and will be shipping out in less than an hour. We're so excited and can't wait to be reunited with everyone in less than two weeks!

- Parker

Crowdfunding Success!

We did it! After a hard month of campaigning, we exceeded our goal hitting a total amount raised of $12,170! This project would not be possible without the help from the 117 family and friends that donated to help us compete in Waterloo. With your help, we were able to purchase flights for 24 team members to Waterloo and cover a portion of our hotel costs. We would like to give a special shout out to SAIT's Alumni & Development department for helping organize our campaign. From all of the team members, thank you.