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Megahurts put the hurt on the competition (The Southern April 6, 2009)

SCOTT FITZGERALD, THE SOUTHERN | Posted: Monday, April 6, 2009

CARBONDALE – The Brehm Preparatory School robotics team, known as the Megahurts, has accomplished much in its three-year history.

The Megahurts, which formed an alliance with two other teams, placed second in a St. Louis regional FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition in March. Competitors came from nine states.

The alliance advanced through quarterfinals and into the championship where they lost to another alliance of teams. It was a big change from two previous years of completion where the Megahurts finished 42nd and 18th.

“We played hard, but the top alliance was too much for us. We took second place for the competition, a truly amazing feat that none of us expected three months ago when we started our robot,” said a team mentor, Jonathan Cohen.

The alliance structure in which teams join together in robotics competition is a model Joe Viscomi, coach and director of technology at Brehm, would like to foster more in the local community.

“We want engineers and companies to get directly involved. We need people with expertise like engineers, designers and fabricators who want to mentor. There are a few little companies around here that could help,” Viscomi said.

Robotics teams at other schools have big sponsors such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. But size doesn’t matter in the realm of expertise and support. Precision Tool in Marion, for example, donated a few parts to help build the Brehm team robot used in competition. Aisin is another local sponsor. Southern Illinois University Carbondale engineering students have volunteered time to mentor.

Some Brehm graduates who participated on the robotics team have gone on to prestigious universities and colleges such as Carnegie Mellon University and California Polytechnic State University to further their studies in engineering and robotics. A current Brehm student interviewed recently with Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Brehm robotics team meets from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Students, people and companies that wish to lend a hand to the team’s success and development are asked to call Viscomi at 618-457-0371, ext 1507. / 618-351-5076

April 6th, 2009
Topic: Professional Team Coverage, Robotics News Tags: None

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