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WPI Regional Champions!

March 13, 2010

Gus Robotics team 228 has finally done it! After 12 years and 12 different robots, we finally found the right combination of students, mentors, robots, and alliance partners. At WPI in Worcester, Massachusetts this past Thursday-Saturday, Gus competed at the first FIRST WPI Regional.

The regional competition was an amazing experience. It was the first regional ever held at WPI and it was the first event that our team showed off our new mascot, Fuego, which was 100% handmade by the students and mentors of Gus. It was not all smooth sailing for our robot though, since we had to replace vital bearings in all four of our swerve drive modules between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning (a problem that was due to store-bought parts, not anything we had manufactured). Still despite this, Gus rose from being ranked 27th out of 29 teams to be picked to be in the 1st seed alliance at the end of the qualification rounds. Team 230, Gael Hawks from Connecticut, and Team 20, The Rocketeers of New York, asked us to be in their alliance, knowing that even if the rankings didn't show it we were a fantastic team. And boy, did we show them what we could do! Our powerhouse alliance went 6-0-0 during the final matches, never losing or tying any of the matches we played. Gael Hawks made amazing plays in autonomous and by hanging at the end of the match, Rocketeers score massive points for alliance with their swerve drive and awesome kicker, and we showed the other alliance a little of our "New England D" defense skills, keeping the other alliances form scoring. This was a truly awesome alliance and we thank teams 230 and 20 for once again choosing us into their alliance! This was Team 228's first ever regional win and we couldn't be more proud of our drive team; David our base driver, Nick our co-driver, Matt our human player, and Mr. Art Dutra our coach- thanks fellas!

Well, ok there are a few things that make us even more proud of our team than winning our first regional. They are as follows:

First of all, Kevin Mann, a senior at Maloney High School, was the recipient of the $10,000 WPI scholarship that was designed specifically for students a part of FRC teams attending the event. Kevin's involvement in the team and his goal to pursue an education at WPI in technology helped put him head and shoulders above the competition. Congratulations Kevin once again on your award! You represent our team well!

Second, our team, Gus Robotics, won the Engineering Inspiration at this regional competition. This award is the second highest award that a FIRST team can win, behind the Chairman's Award, and it recognizes teams who embody the spirit of FIRST and make great efforts of spreading science and technology in their schools, community, and beyond. Gus won this award for our unique method of fundraising at local Connecticut fairs and our unique ways of spreading FIRST through these fairs and through several other unique outlets including Meriden's Daffodil Festival and Parade. We also served our community through can and bottle drives, walks for Autism, and sending care packages to soldiers stationed on Iraq. Team 228 is deeply honored that we were chosen as the recipients of this award because it means we truly understand the meaning of FIRST. Thank you to all of you who helped make this possible.

Lastly, Gus had another student award winner, Tina Dutra. Tina, a junior at Platt High School, was one of two students chosen at the regional to be the recipient of the first ever Dean's List Finalist award. This award was designed to recognize outstanding students who are not only active and important members of their current FIRST team, but also show an inclination for continuing the circle of knowledge by helping out FIRST teams as alumni. Tina is a three year captain of team 228 and helps with many aspects of the team, both on center stage and behind the curtain. Tina is now eligible for the world-wide Dean's List award, where only 10 students will be chosen from all the regional winners, at the championship event taking place this April in Atlanta, Georgia. Good luck Tina!

As you can see, team 228, Gus Robotics, has had an amazing season so far and it has only just begun. We still have the Connecticut Regional coming up April 1-3 at the Connecticut Convention Center and now Atlanta as well. The problem is, in order for our team to compete in the World Championships in Atlanta, an honor we have rightfully earned, we need sponsorship and/or donations fast! These are hard times all around so many of our team members cannot afford going to the Championships unless we can raise $25,000 within the next few weeks. Robotics has offered many of our students the opportunity to see a new future for themselves, one that includes a college education. The World Championship events are the Olympics of the science world, so please help these students feel like the champions they are and please make a donation to our team to help us pay for our trip to Atlanta.

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