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A Bettendorf High School trebuchet team shouted to see an egg soar more than 100 feet, but the four students groaned as they watched it over-shoot its target.

A crowd of supporters whooped at the throw, however, as the green-shirted team took part in the ninth annual trebuchet competition Friday on Bettendorf High School's practice field.

Twenty-four teams of students from five Quad-City area high schools competed in the event that involved math, engineering and science skills. Schools included Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley, Moline, Prince of Peace in Clinton and Durant.

"Trebuchet" is a French term for a catapult-like device used most often in the Middle Ages. But it's also been at work recently; 2013 news reports show rebels designed a trebuchet as they sought control of Aleppo, Syria.

The Bettendorf team of Jakob Wethington, Hunter Miller, Anthony Pozzi and Justin Lemasters dressed as construction workers for the event. It took two to three weeks to design this team's floating-arm trebuchet, which the students painted in bright tropical colors. An emphasis was to make the device's main arm long enough to shoot an egg as far as possible.

Durant High School brought three teams to the contest and had a dependable design for its trebuchets. One team, which included Noah Cawiezell and Miranda Cox, shot the egg about 75 feet every time it was launched.

The truss-style trebuchet took about two weeks to finish, Noah said. He wished his team could have used more weight in the device, but both he and Miranda said they enjoyed the contest. 

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The trebuchet competition serves to stress academics that are used globally and offers a real-world experience, according to Pat Barnes, an engineer at Deere & Co.

The Quad-City Engineering Council provides support for the contest, and Barnes said the students work on projects from conception to design, and they also test the trebuchets. 

Dan Drexler, industrial technology instructor at Bettendorf, got the idea for the trebuchet contest several years ago, when he took teams to a similar event at Iowa State University, Ames.

Bettendorf's teams are tested and graded on their projects, Drexler said. He coached four separate teams in Friday's event.

Each team used large, raw eggs to shoot at targets, placed at 75 feet, 100 and 125 feet away. They were graded on the shots but also on a presentation they made to a panel of judges.

"The kids and their experiences really prepares them for the world ahead," Drexler said.

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