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April 30. 2013 7:55PM

Milford First Robotics team wins a medal for Mayhem


Together with their robot Discobolus Rex, Mechanical Mayhem stands on the Championship Field as FIRST Robotics Competition World Finalists. From Left to right, back to front, are Rachel Avery, Penee-lee O'Neil (mentor), Matt Simard, Ben Henry, Mike Volante, Tony Edvalson, Ben Avery, Bryan Rose, Charlotte Gray (mentor), Jon Heinzl, Jackson Volante, Morghan O'Neil, Kaileb O'Neil, David Gray, Nick Garcia, Olivia Edvalson, Bill Gray (coach), Aaron Peterson, Caleb Avery, Faith Streeter, Maxwell Landry, Hannah Simard, Nancy Streeter (mentor), Ken Streeter (coach) and Connor Houghton. (Courtesy)

MILFORD -- THE GOAL OF Mechanical Mayhem was to get to the main floor of the 2013 FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis, and last weekend, they not only reached their goal but came away with the silver medal for their efforts.

On Saturday, the group of Milford-area students won their division, beating out 100 other teams at the FIRST World Championships. The Killer Bees of Auburn Hills, Mich., and Las Guerrillas of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., were the team's alliance partners.

The 21 students who make up Mechanical Mayhem are home-schooled, or attend private or charter schools. In St. Louis, they made it to the Einstein Floor to compete against three other teams for the world championship title. Though they bested their opponents in the semi-final round with their robot, Mechanical Mayhem fell just short of winning the title. But out of 400 teams from around the world, the team secured second place and the silver medal, according to team spokesman Penee O'Neil.

"We're very fortunate to have made it that far," said O'Neil. "Our goal was to make it to the Einstein Floor this year, but to win the silver medal was more than we could have asked for."

At the FIRST Robotics 2013 World Championships, the 400 teams competed with robots they designed and built to throw Frisbees into goals and climb 9-foot steel pyramids. After 134 qualifying matches, the top eight teams chose their alliance partners to continue into the playoff rounds. Mechanical Mayhem was chosen for its ability to send Frisbees soaring long distances during the semi-finals.

"Our score of 266-216 set the world record for highest score without penalties," said Mechanical Mayhem mentor Nathan Streeter. "That match also sets the record for highest unpenalized combined score, with 479 points combined."

"I'm so pleased by the hard work, perseverance, and teamwork by the students, parents and coaches, not just at the 2013 championship event, but in the weeks, months and years preceding it," said coach Ken Streeter. "God is gracious."

Another New Hampshire team, Windham Windup from Windham High School, which is mentored by a graduate of Mechanical Mayhem, also competed in the elimination rounds and received the "Reach for the Stars" award. The award is given by judges to a veteran team for their robot's performance in specific areas.

With nine years under their belt and an increasingly successful record, O'Neil said that next year the team will be shooting for the top.

"We're going to build on what we've accomplished this year," she said.

For more information, visit www.mechanicalmayhem.org.

nfoster@newstote.com


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