treb logo treb logo

About the Team

A Brief History

Team Urban Siege was founded in the Spring of 2006, although the name "Team Urban Siege" did not emerge until 2009. In 2005 the initial team (Matt, Chris and Jason) were all freshman at R.I.T. (Rochester Institute of Technology), Jason and Matt in Mechanical Engineering, and Chris in Environmental Management. The ASME group that spring (2006) held a watermelon launching competition, and Matt decided to enter, having built a small trebuchet several years before and wishing to build a more powerful one anyway. Jason joined in, and so did Chris, whom Matt had known since High School. The Melon Felon was the first machine built by the team, and it performed decently though not great at the Watermelon Launch. The following year saw Team Urban Siege build Jeckyl and Hyde as their first foray into advanced trebuchet designs.

2008 was when things got really serious. After Matt's trip to the 2007 World Championships of Punkin Chunkin in Delaware, the decision was made to build a full-scale punkin chunkin trebuchet and compete in 2008. This is when Medieval Postal Service came about, and Team Urban Siege started to become a well-known name in the hurling community. In 2011, the team built a completely new trebuchet, NASAW, which topped the existing World Record (2034') in it's first competition (in 2011 shooting 2316' for second place) and won the World Championships of Punkin Chunkin in 2012. Nick Wendel joined the team to assist in this venture (plus he wanted to get involved in punkin chunkin regardless), and soon built his own machine, a human-powered centrifugal catapult named the Buffalo Wing Slinger.

Along the way the team has built other machines, Janus being the most notable as one of the largest Rolling/Floating Axle Whipper (RAW/FEW) built thus far in the world (with a mere 5' long arm!)

We are willing to come for demonstrations, charity events and anything else that a trebuchet might be desired for. Contact us for more information if you are interested, we are located primarily in Western New York, though we also have a team member in the Denver, CO area.

The Team

Matt DiFrancesco

2006 - Team Captain

Matt is a degreed Mechanical Engineer currently residing in Denver, CO working in a small R&D shop. Matt is responsible for the bulk of the designing done by our team, and is very active in the acutal construction as well. Matt is also the primary content-writer for

Jason Nichols


Jason is also a degreed Mechanical Engineer who lives in Cheektowaga, NY working in a metal fabrication shop. Jason helps out with the designing and engineering of our machines in addition to helping out with building, transportation, and any other logistics.

Chris Nastasi


Chris is an Environmental Management Student at R.I.T.. Chris is heavily involved in the construction of our machines and is also our regular ammunition-seeker.

Nick Wendel


Nick is the newest addition to Team Urban Siege, effective January 2011. Nick lives in East Concord, NY and is involved with quite a number of enterprises through the family farm (Wendel's Poultry Farm), particular maple sugaring. Nick has extensive welding experience (especially compared to the rest of the team!) and will be very involved in the construction of our future machines.

Andrew Nichols


Andy is Jason's brother and often travels with the team to the World Championships in Delaware or other demo events to assist with operation of our machine NASAW.

©2023 Matt DiFrancesco and/or Team Urban Siege unless otherwise specified. No reproduction of any content within this site for other than personal use (i.e. you will NOT reproduce anything here for monetary gain) is permitted without written permission from the team captain.

All material found within this site is to be used solely at the risk of the user. We will in no way be responsible for any incidents resulting from the use of said material. Please read our disclaimer before using any information found within this site.

Site optimized for viewing at resolutions of 1024x768 or greater on current versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. Please report any viewing issues or broken links to or use the contact form.


All information found with this site or at other sites linked to from here is used at the sole risk of the user. Team Urban Siege and its members will be in no way responsible for any damage or injuries suffered from the use of this information.

Use "common sense" when operating trebuchets and catapults. Even little ones can be dangerous. Do not place anything you are not willing to lose in the plane of the arm rotation (this includes yourself, body parts, car windshields, cameras, etc). These catapults and trebuchets are capable of throwing just as far backwards as forwards, and the use of a backstop of some sort is recommended, though the use of one does not make the region behind it safe.

Also, just because the throw got away safely downrange does not mean the end of the danger. The arm is likely still swinging wildly along with the counterweight, and there is a sling whipping around. One thing many people fail to take into account is this sling; some people put a metal ring on the slip end of the sling and this ring can HURT when whipping around!

Have fun hurling, but please KEEP IT SAFE!!!