Illinois State’s Trebuchet Team may not have been able to defend its first-place title at the Morton Pumpkin Chuckin’ contest this fall, but students aren’t just sitting on their hands.

The team, led by the ISU Physics Club and Department of Physics faculty and staff, are still tweaking Reggie’s Chuckin’ Wagon, looking for new efficiency and, hopefully, a longer chuck. In the 2011 contest, the Illinois State trebuchet hurled a 10-pound pumpkin 1,131 feet – a record for both the team and the division. The 2012 contest in Morton was canceled due to weather.

The Illinois State wagon stands at 16 feet tall, and is more than 20 feet tall with the throwing arm extended. In all, 2,100 pounds of counterweight are used to swing the throwing arm and hurl a pumpkin, which is held in a sling at the end of the arm. (A trebuchet, by the way, is a siege engine used during battles to smash masonry walls or to throw projectiles over them.)

Check out the Trebuchet Team in action during a recent practice above.