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Team Rush prepares to take on World Championship



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Team Rush Cheers wildly as they take second place in the state tournament. Photo submitted (click for larger version)
April 20, 2011 - Clarkston High School's robotics Team RUSH is heading to the World Championship in St. Louis after taking second place in the Michigan State Tournament.

It was a nail-biter, said CSMTech teacher Kyle Hughes.

"We lost the first match by one point, came back and won the second to lose the third," Hughes said. "It was absolutely unbelievable."

With a 10-2 record at states and a 35-16-1 overall, the team finished fourth in the state of 171 teams based on Michigan competition results and performances.

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Troy Hughes considered the second place at states quite a feat, considering the rocky start the team had in their first competition.

"We just had problem after problem and we just didn't do well. For us to come back and win a tournament before even going to the state championships, then place second at state is really amazing," he said. "It's what this team is all about, our ability to bounce back."

Teammate Jonah Sementkowski agreed the win was "gratifying."

"We didn't have a very good start, we failed faster and we learned from that, but we were able to come through in the end," Sementkowski said.

The team also won the Engineering Inspiration Award, which is the second highest award on "community and culture change." As well as the Safety and Community Award from the safety Judges. The team was also presented with many awards given to them by other teams.

Andrea Vedrody said she was so excited about the Engineering Inspiration Award because she was one of the students who helped present to the judges and it was her first presentation.

"I was so happy when we won it because I knew I was a part of it and I knew the team did so great, everything we did to communicate to the judges that they understood it," she said. "I was just so happy with that and our robot was doing so great as well."

As far as the world championship goes, Vedrody is looking forward to it.

"This is my first year and I have no idea what to expect," she said. "But I heard it's a lot of energy and a lot of fun."

ABC 12 and WXYZ channel 7 aired a first ever TV show on April 16 that chronicled the state championship and Team Rush was one of the teams featured.

"Many times during the playoffs, we had a camera on our robot during competition and we were also interviewed many times," Kyle said.

Class of 2000 graduate of Clarkston High School and CSMTech Alumni, Pam Barclay said she is very happy about the team's success. Barclay became a mentor to the team when she returned to Michigan after her undergrad as a hydrology major.

"I decided helping out with the robotics team I was apart of when I was in high school was essential," she said. "I learned so much from being on the team and it's nice to know that sort learning and education is still happening 11 years later."

The team heads to St. Louis for the World Championship, April 27-31.

"It would be fun if on April 27 everyone could wear blue or gold in Clarkston that day to cheer us on," Kyle said. "Also take some pictures and send them to our website so we can post those and we can see what kind of support we're getting from the community – that would be awesome."

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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