CRREL-sponsored robotics team wins spot in national competition

Published May 17, 2013
A Lebanon, N.H., Robotics Team 95 team member.

A Lebanon, N.H., Robotics Team 95 team member.

HARTFORD, Conn.—ERDC Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory  (CRREL)-sponsored Lebanon, N.H., Robotics Team 95’s outstanding performance among 56 high school teams captured second place overall in the FIRST®  Robotics (FRC) Connecticut Regional Competition March 29-30 in Harford, Conn., advancing the team to a coveted slot in the National FIRST®  Robotics Conference in St. Louis, Mo., April 24-27.

 “CRREL has been pleased to sponsor Team 95, known as the “Grasshoppers”, for the past three years and are proud of their accomplishments,” said Team 95 Coach James Cole-Henry, son of CRREL team member Dr. Dave Cole and former employee Dr. Karen Henry.  Gary Koh, a recent CRREL retiree, served as a robotics’ team mentor, as did CRREL Mechanical Engineer Kelley MacDonald.

Governor Dannel Malloy, Congressman Joe Courtney, and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut kicked off the regional competition, welcoming more than 1,800 high school students from across New England. 

This year’s event highlighted the Ultimate Ascent, flying Frisbees at the opponent’s backboard in maneuvers to score points in a competition to achieve the prestigious first-place Regional Chairman’s Award.  

CRREL’s team joined an alliance with two other partners for the contest, and together they were the highest scorers in the final match.

“I am extremely proud of this robotics team.  With a group of mostly rookie students, including half of our drive team, we made a robot that has successfully completed one of the most difficult tasks in FRC history and was part of the winning alliance at the UTC-sponsored Hartford Conn., regional. With some awesome defensive driving and reliable climbing, our robot fit perfectly within our alliance partners, Team 20, the Rocketeers, and Team 195, the CyberKnights.  Our alliance was undefeated in all three rounds of elimination matches (6 to 0) and made the regional’s highest score in our final match,” Cole-Henry said.

“The FIRST®  Robotics program is much more than the mechanics of building a robot; it is about teamwork, building self confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers in the future,” said Charlene Brown, CRREL’s Contracting Office representative for the FIRST® Robotics Program.

Brown, who witnessed the regional competition, said that “all the teams in this event are amazing; the students, coaches and volunteers are so committed, and it’s a pleasure to watch this in action.”