Team RUSH finishes first at district competition

By Wendi Reardon Price
Staff Writer
— Clarkston High School Team RUSH 27 Robotics has achieved a lot over the 27-plus years of the program. They had a new achievement as they went undefeated and won the Finger Lakes FRC Regional at the Rochester Institute of Technology, March 13-16.
“We are really proud,” said senior Luke Jeung, who is on the drive team. “It was our first time at that specific location in New York which was super fun to play against teams from New York. There were teams from China, Taiwan, Canada, and a couple other states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. It was fun to meet new people we haven’t met before and play with them.”
“We were really excited for the regional,” added sophomore Ameera Abdellateef, on the public relations team and on the pit crew. “It was the most exciting tournament, in my opinion, out of all the tournaments we attend except worlds. Everyone was so pumped to go. We just had good vibes, and we just knew we were going to take it all.”
Team RUSH also won the Industrial Design Award and the Impact Award, which used to be called the Chairman’s Award.
“It is the highest honor and it recognizes an exemplary team with a model other teams can adapt to and learn from,” Jeung said. “Team RUSH won the Chairman’s Award in 2014 on the global level which is a huge honor for us. It’s the highest honor any team can earn. Ten years later, Team RUSH won it again.”
Jeung, Abedellateef and sophomore Julia Whitecar shared it feels good to keep up the level of competition and the team consistently getting better every year.
“It feels really cool to be on a team which already has left an impression on other teams in the FIRST community,” said Whitecar. “For us, now we know as a team we know we are continuing to improve it gives us hope for the impact we hope to leave behind for the coming years of our team.”
Abdellateef added it sets a standard.
“We continue to raise the bar higher and be the better version of ourselves,” she said.
“We have a mentor that brings this up a lot, for us it’s about upholding our team’s legacy we have established over the last 27-plus years of competing,” Jeung said. “Not only competing but 27 years of community events, 27 years of building leaders who go out into the world and make a difference. It’s a huge honor but also a responsibility for us students to keep upholding the good things we are doing.”
This year’s competition is Crescendo.
Jeung and Whitecar shared between their first competition at Kettering University, Feb. 29 – March 2, and going to the Finger Lakes Regional, they had a different intake in their robot.
“Before we left for the competition we kept testing our current intake on our practice robot,” said Whitecar. “Between Kettering and Finger Lakes we made the swap but we already knew what to expect.”
“Not a lot of huge robot change but lots of practice for every other group preparing for the competition,” Jeung said.
At the FIM District at Kettering University, Team RUSH earned first place in qualification match, earned third place and received the Excellence in Engineering Award.
The biggest challenge for building this year’s robot so far has been the intake.
“The first rendition of the intake had lots of components,” Whitecar said. “It was definitely a lot more complicated than our current intake. It was kind of difficult to maintain.”
“The big thing coming into this year was trying to simplify our design and our manufacturing process,” Jeung added. “We had a big reorganization and strategic analysis over the summer so part of that was coming off of last year where we had a lot more complex theme to it then we intended. We started off with a simpler design. It is easier to sustain and maintain during a competition.”
“It makes it a lot easier to identify problems,” Whitecar shared.
The robotics team won the district competition at Troy Athens High School, March 22-24. They went 16-1 in the three days and received the Excellence in Engineering Award. Finn Berard was named District Championship Dean’s List Semi-finalist.
Team RUSH 27 has a week off from competition as they prepared for the Michigan State Championship at Saginaw Valley State University, April 4-6.

Team RUSH 27 Robotics celebrates winning the Finger Lakes Regional, March 15-16. Photo: Provided by Kyle Hughes

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