July 09, 2014 - Team RUSH 27 faced their newest challenges while building cardboard boats this summer and are ready for their 7th Annual RUSH Regatta this Saturday.
Team Killer Stingrays, Haley Velisek, Zach Evans and Camron Razdar. (click for larger version)
The students faced restrictions in size for their boats made out of cardboard and duct tape last summer. This summer, they can make the boat as big or small as they want. The challenge is not only less time to build their boat, but they also have to manipulate game pieces.
"We have exercise balls we have to collect on the course," explained junior Diana Marsala from Team Three. "We can't touch them ourselves. Our boat has to touch them. There will also be inner tubes placed around the course."
If a team doesn't collect the inner tubes, time is subtracted from their race and whoever is holding them is unable to help with rowing the boat.
"So you have to decide, do you want the 20 seconds or have the extra person to row," Marsala added.
"It really made our boat design significantly different than last year," added senior Camron Razdar, from Team Killer Stingrays.
"Your boat can't just be fast," added junior Zach Evans from the same team. "It has to be fast and manueverable."
Sophomore Haley Velisek agreed with her teammates and added they had to calculate drag it might have on the boat and how it would affect it.
"It's different," noted Michael Abraham from The Non-Cute Puppies - team two. "I think we have a design to overcome the challenge. We have a simple design and usually those are the designs which work the best.
"We are really excited for it, to see how other teams are going to build their boats around the challenge," said senior Carter Zielinski from Swimbotics, Team Four. "Our design will help push us in front of the competition."
The students also face the same challenges they do every year - to build a boat out of cardboard which won't sink. The boats need to last at least four races in order to move to the championship round of the brackets.
Each team also raises money by getting businesses to sponsor their boat. The money is used during the robotics season for their competitions.
Eight teams vie to win the RUSH Regatta and each knows why they will win and why other teams should be worried about them.
"They should definitely worry about these guys because they have made a lot of contacts," Marsala said about teammates sophomores Ethan McMichael and Devin Spaulding.
"One thing that makes us a threat is we have two lighter students so we can take advantage of the none proportioned, because the weight won't make that much of a different," Spaulding added.
Senior Courtney Hughes, from Team One, the Nautical Neons and who won last year, knows her team will win again.
"We are going to win because of the fact our boat is going to be rock solid like Team Rush and we have so many connections," she said. "Plus the fact our team has heart and we are going to bring that heart into competition on beach day. We are working tiredlessly and we are team one, as in we are number one. We are a threat - we have the heart, the money and the boat. It is the full package. I was lucky to get this team."
Evans added the Killer Stingrays will win because of their dedication.
"We have spent at least four hours a day at Camron's house calling companies, prototyping our boat and scaling it down, design, cut all the cardboard, today glueing all the pieces," he explained.
"We have a pretty different group," Velisek added. "We cover all aspects of the team – mechanical and judges. Camron is our chairman presenter. He has a lot of connections. All of us have done mechanical sub teams so we know how to build a boat."
Razdar added they also have the mindset of winning, professionalism and generousity to other teams which needed help.
"We have the will to win," Zielinski said about Swimbotics. "This is something we really take seriously because of the motivation to go to an out of state tournament which is why we are raising money for as well as the experience."
Senior Melchoir Vester from the Killer Hornets, team six, pointed out they have two keys to success with their boat design and theme.
"Our boat will go fast," he said. "It is very structurally sound and bouyant."
But Team Eight is ready to prove them wrong even though they are considered one of the youngest teams and an underdog.
"No one is going to expect a lot out of us," said junior Jared Harper. "We have already had teams come up to help us. We have been doing pretty good on our own and we have actually been able to help other teams. We received a donation of liquid nails and we are going to give the extra to other teams if they need it. We are better than I thought."
The annual RUSH Regatta is this Saturday at Deer Lake Beach, off of White Lake Road in Clarkston, at 10 a.m.
"Once we get onto the beach, it is go time," Razdar smiled.
"It is always fun and the hard work pays off," Hughes added. "It's fun watching boats sink and the competition is unreal."
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. Follow Clarkston sports on Twitter @CNewsWRSports.