Teams race to the RUSH Cup on the lake

Clarkston News Staff Writer
Students are finishing the final touches on their cardboard and duct tape boats as they prepare to race in the 10th Annual RUSH Regatta at Deer Lake Beach this Saturday.
For students in eight teams with Team RUSH 27 Robotics team it’s an opportunity to get to know their teammates, build a boat and raise money for the competition season.
For Kyle Hughes, coach, and Dennis Hughes, her husband and RUSH mentor, it’s a special year because it’s the last race for their youngest of three children, Cody.
Dennis admitted he won’t miss the abundant supply of cardboard and liquid nails in the garage, having his car in the driveway for a few months, or trying to transport a 11-foot cardboard to the beach on race day without damaging it.
“What we will miss the most is watching our kids grow through this incredible project,” Kyle and Dennis shared. “Troy, Courtney and Cody have significantly grown through the process of the engineering challenge and through their entrepreneurial prowess. Watching our kids gain confidence in talking to companies, knowing they were essentially creating their own business over the summer, and being so proud of their boat – that’s what we will miss.”
Each of the Hughes children of won the prized RUSH Cup but other students are ready to claim the cup in victory.
“We have the willpower and we have the look,” said Nick Morgan, a junior going into his third year with the robotics team. “I am excited because I want to finally win. For two years I have gotten second place and third place. I want to get first place.”
“We are going to win for design,” added teammate Grace Sielinski, a freshman. “Not to give anything away, but we have a very unique design. If everything goes as planned it will be good.”
Junior Lily Craighead explained the boat has three parts to it.
“If something were to happen to one part we could keep going with it. Hopefully it will help us win,” she said.
Grace Havel, a sophomore, explained her team will win because they have done well on sponsorships.
“From the fundraising aspect, once we get a few more sponsors I think we will be up there,” Havel said. “We are working hard on our boat and getting it to be as sturdy as possible.”
Senior Carson Morris in his third year with Team RUSH 27 added teammate senior Tim Gerst’s experience with making a boat will help them win.
“We know how to make a good boat – to to make a boat that doesn’t sink,” Morris said. “On the fundraising aspect we have many newer companies, and we have made several relationships with companies through the years.”
Win or lose the teams are excited for the annual race.
“It’s a really great opportunity for new students to be introduced to engineering challenges,” Craighead said. “I was a new student last year so it really helped me understand how things worked and different design ideas. Another aspect is calling companies (for sponsorships). I don’t like talking on the phone so it really pushes you out of your comfort zone.”
“I like it because I get to work with a small group of people from the team,” said freshman Audrey Dekoninck. “It will help us get ready for working with the full team.”
Morgan added it’s an amazing team builder as he gets to know his teammates.
Gerst, Morris, senior Austin Schmitz and sophomore Grace Havel are excited because it’s a beginning of a new year with the robotics teams and they are looking forward to try new subgroups and continuing to learn more.
“I am going to try more of the mechanical side instead of the business side,” said Havel. “I am excited to get into the shop.”
Team RUSH 27 invites the community to Deer Lake Beach this Saturday at noon as they race for Wicked Fast Watercraft, Enterprising & Seaworthy Sailors Award, Cash Crusaders Award and the RUSH Cup.
“It’s a super fun event and so entertaining,” said Havel. “I remember when my brother was on the team. It was his first year of doing the regatta, and I didn’t know a lot about RUSH. When I went to the regatta it was so entertaining. It was so fun to see them sink and see them scramble. It’s so entertaining and you get to see something people wouldn’t think of – building a boat out of cardboard and duct tape.”
Morris added before his dad retired from the Air Force they moved place to place and he had never seen anything like RUSH Regatta.
“I thought it was cool – this is unique,” he shared. “I moved here and basically started working on regatta right when I got here.”
“It is pretty inspiring,” Dekonink added. “It’s really cool for younger kids to see older kids build these by themselves.”

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