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Team RUSH ready for state competition



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Nick Lee and Troy Hughes work on the defender robot. Photo by Trevor Keiser (click for larger version)
April 06, 2011 - After taking their first regional win in eight years, Clarkston's Team RUSH is heading to state competition this weekend with a different attitude.

"In the past we wanted to win a specific award or we wanted to do what we could to get to different places, our goals were much more specific," said Team RUSH member Troy Hughes. "Now everything is 'take a breather, relax, have some fun.'"

CSMTech teacher Kyle Hughes said the new attitude has changed the atmosphere of the robotics team.

"We realized what we do is really, really good, therefore we don't need the culture changing awards to remind us it feels good to do the right thing," she said. "What we're doing is the right thing."

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She also said it's making them work harder.

"We have to work for every single thing and that's really, really good, because they understand in the game it is one tube at a time, one second at a time, it's one game at a time to win it," she said. "We're excited to go to states because we're ready."

Senior Jan Helgeson, who is a team captain and one of the robot drivers on the team, said they have put in the practice time.

"We sit here everyday and practice until it becomes unconscious, so when we get out on the field, scoring tubes is almost automatic and we don't make mistakes or if we're under heavy defense, we know how to react to it," he said. "People scout, they know what teams are good. They're going to play defense on the teams they know are good."

CSMTech and Team Rush go beyond just building a robot.

"I like how it exposes us to more things we don't really see a lot in school," said Regan Havens. "In school we learn about all these equations and all these programs we can do but we don't think they will apply to us later in life, but it actually does. I like the whole concept about going out into the community and doing more."

Helgeson agreed.

"Everything I'm learning here applies to the industry and stuff I'm going to do after high school and college," he said. "A lot of it is just knowing how to go in with a group of people and have a set goal and a deadline and knowing how to make something happen."

Senior Michael Campbell said he likes the program because he's been a "math and science geek" for most of his life.

Freshman Matt Pasco agreed.

"I don't mind doing my math or science homework – I could just do it all day," he said. "I rather do it than art."

Pasco said he's also learned how to manage his time better as well.

"It's a large time commitment but I don't really mind it because I'm around people I like and they're my friends," he said. "It's a lot of fun and I love to drive (the robot)."

First-year team member Andrea Verody, who worked on the "Above Chassis team" and is part of the Community Impact Group (CIG), said she loves the "team aspect."

"Everybody on the team, I spend so much time with them so I get to know them very well. I love how we can all be there for each other," Verody said. "There is a huge family aspect to the team."

Gabby David felt the same way.

"You become a totally different person. You realize how much a team means to each other and how you can help each other," she said. "You just keep growing through the whole thing. I myself have learned so much about everything."

When it comes to the team overall, Kyle said "it's the nicest group of kids" they've had on a team.

"They all work for the same cause and I think because of that and everybody is going in the same direction," she said. "They're all willing to give up a little bit more and because that we've really been able to go a distance."

Kyle did note she is hungry for a first place win this weekend. The competition will be held at Eastern Michigan University. For more information, check out www.teamrush27.net

"I want to see everybody in the community show up with a Clarkston shirt on and just pack the stands. My personal goal is Clarkston be known for our robotics program, I'm getting closer and closer," she said. "A world championship or state title would definitely be a tremendous help."

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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