World-class competition for Team RUSH

Team RUSH at the World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dale Schnepp
Team RUSH at the World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dale Schnepp

BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Staff Writer
The sky’s the limit for Team RUSH, finishing in the finals at the World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, April 28-29.
As winners of the Engineering Inspiration Award, the Clarkston High School robotics teams will have their 2018 championship registration fee sponsored by NASA.
“We are really proud of the robot and its performance but especially proud of the team, with the Engineering Inspiration Award,” said Dennis Hughes, lead engineering mentor. “The team really came together to inspire others this past year and we are excited to see that being recognized within the FIRST community.”
The World Championships hosted six divisions with 68 teams competing within each division. Team RUSH competed in the Daly Division, going in ranked 40th with a 9-8-0 record.
RUSH was picked by the third seed team, The Rebels from Ontario Team 4976, for the elimination round. Also in the alliance was Team 4678 the CyberCavs from Ontario; and Team 2614 the Mountaineering Area Robotics (MARS) from West Virginia.
The alliance made it to the finals and was beat by the alliance which would eventually become the world champions.
“While they felt they left it all on the field, RUSH was also very proud of keeping the world champion alliance down to only 350-plus points where they were averaging over 500-plus points each round,” said Kyle Hughes, coach and mentor.
When reflecting on the season, Kyle said the team didn’t give up, especially when they would make changes to the robot and it didn’t work out or were seeded in the middle.
“We were picked by a high seed and the team came together,” she added. “The robot started working properly, the drive team drove like nuts, the scouting and selection students gathered and produced the best scouting data ever. The parents cheered and supported RUSH beyond any other team in the stands. It was amazing. Clarkston represented.”
The greatest highlight for Kyle was comments from other teams about Team RUSH, including letting Clarkston know they looked up to them, how they use their system of operations, or admiring their robot.
“At the closure of the past 21 years of FIRST, we are very proud to say we have brought Clarkston the robotics recognition of the world –  as one of the best role model teams ever. I am very proud to be the coach of these awesome students, representing this incredible community,” Kyle added.
When awarded for Engineering Inspiration the judges said the award celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s community.
“This respected team collaborates with other teams as well as the larger community. They are not afraid to ‘parade’ their accomplishments with holiday ‘spirit.’ While most of us ‘rush’ to get off a conference call, rookies who work with this team do not. The political clout of this team is ‘rock solid’ from the National Advocacy Conference to enhancing education through technology,” they continued.
Team RUSH also won the Championship Subdivision Finalist award.
The team finished the season winning 10 awards for their robot and their team. They were a regional finalist, district winner, district finals and world division finalist.
Students Ben Halcrow and Devin Spaulding received the Kettering University FIRST Robotic Scholarships which awards $22,500 to each student. Brandon Kirl won the Dean’s List at the state championships and respresented Clarkston on the world level.
Team RUSH is already contemplating next season as well as getting ready for their summer camps and the annual regatta at Deer Lake Beach.
They are looking forward to the next world championship which will be held in Detroit at Cobo Hall and Ford Field. It will be the first world championship held in Michigan.