For the second straight year the team from West Virginia University took home top honors in the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration–Eastern Collegiate Mine Rescue Fall 2018 Competition.

WVU bested teams from University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech and Penn State to win the event, which was held at the Coronado Coal Mine Rescue Training Center, in Oakwood, Virginia, on Nov. 3. WVU also won the Combination Team trophy for having the best overall combined score in the Mine Rescue Problem and the Smoke Competition and placed third in the Smoke Competition.

The competition tested teams’ ability to locate and rescue two missing miners.

“The scenario featured a mine that had an accident that caused massive flooding on the south side of the mine. All employees except for two were accounted for on the surface,” said Mark Gouzd, extension agent with WVU Mining and Industrial Extension. “Water levels and explosive gas levels were encountered by the students as they worked through the problem. The team had to systematically explore all areas of the mine if it was safe to do so, account for the two missing miners, pump water and ventilate the mine to make it safe.”

In preparation for the competition, the team trained at WVU’s Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies. In addition to studying the rules and statements of fact, team members donned self-contained breathing apparatuses and worked through problems designed by their trainers to teach them the skills they would need to accomplish the goal of the scenario.

“We train each year with a well-rounded, skills-based system to enable the team to handle the challenges any problem designer presents them with,” Gouzd said. “Each competition problem is different, so the team has to know all of the principles and practices associated with mine rescue to be successful.”

The team was led by mining engineering major Dan Nash, an WVU Honors College student from Mount Airy, Maryland. Joining Nash on the team were Jeremy Diehlmann (mining engineering, Crofton, Maryland), Lauren Masterson (mining/civil engineering, Fallston, Maryland), Richard Shipe (mining/civil engineering, Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania), Shannon Sietz (mining engineering/geology, New Glarus, Wisconsin), Erica McCauley (mining engineering/geology, Minerva, Ohio), Brenna Cole (geology, Ellicottville, New York) and Amber Adkins (environmental soil and water sciences, Sherrodsville, Ohio).

Joining Gouzd as trainers were Ed Rannenberg and John Sabo. The team is advised by Joshua Brady, associate director of mining and industrial extension.

Originally from Mary C. Dillon for WVU Today