July 24, 2013 - Students are putting the final touches on their cardboard boats this week in preparation for the sixth annual Rush Regatta on Saturday at Deer Lake Beach.
From left, Emilia Emerson, Courtney Hughes and John Havel are three of the 33 Team RUSH students vying for the RUSH Cup at this Saturday's Rush Regatta. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
On the line are bragging rights and the acclaimed RUSH Cup, which winning team will claim.
Clarkston High School junior Courtney Hughes is hoping to help her team win the cup after winning the cup in her freshman year with her brother, Troy.
"It was really accomplishing," she smiled. "Tt was his senior year he worked really hard to end with a bang, and I wanted to start with a bang. I want to get that feeling. It would be really cool to get it again."
Luckily her teammate senior Emilia Emerson shares the desire to walk away with the cup.
For Emerson it would mean she is involved with her team this year after not being around too much in during last year's planning for the regatta.
"I had more of an opportunity to work with my team to work together," she added. "It would really mean I made a greater connection with my team. As a senior this is my second year on the team. It would highlight my involvement and it would be a great start to my second year with RUSH."
John Havel, also a senior and a member of one of the seven other teams, believes his team will win the trophy.
"It is a huge sense of accomplishment that you have done the best you can do," he said. "Winning the trophy for regatta would be a chance to go out with a bang - that's always nice."
"It gives you something to remember," Hughes added.
But winning the RUSH Cup isn't as easy as building and racing the best cardboard and duct tape boat they can. The teams have to make the boat and then explain the engineering behind the boat which is what the judges would expect from a robotics team.
For the RUSH Cup, they are also judged on if they raised money and sponsorship and became more involved in their community; make sure the team worked together, each member contributing and were having fun in the process; and made connections with other robotics teams.
"We are pretty close to winning," Havel said. He couldn't share too much of his team's plan for their boat but said it is good.
"With the design we took a bunch of the brainstorming ideas and rated the individual boats on different categories," he added. "We put them all together and added the points. Then, we picked the best one. It was nice. It makes us pretty confident because we all agreed."
"Our team has really gotten together to do the different parts needed to be done," Emerson said for her team. "Courtney went out and campaigned for money. We all did it but some people took charge like Courtney. We really worked together and with our mentors to make a boat that is durable."
The next few days the teams will make the last adjustments to the boat and make sure everyone is prepared.
"It is also about bringing the team together," Emerson said. "We prepare for the best and we prepare for the worst."
Team RUSH is wearing pink this year in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. They welcome the community to wear pink this Saturday to join them in awareness.
The Rush Regatta begins on Saturday at noon with the boat parade at Deer Lake Beach, 6167 White Lake Road. The race will follow.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.