Gilford's Drive Team with the winning banner - left to right top: Joe Bonnell, Drive team Coach Mike Andrews; Bottom Left to right : Tim Rice, Connor Craigie. (Courtesy Photo)
A few of our team members that brought the competition ball, signed by every team member and Mentor, to Brad Parker upon their return to town Sunday night after Parker had to leave the competition early Sunday morning due to coming down with the flu and missing the actual win. Parker is the team's production manager) From left are Parker, Connor Craigie, Joe Bonnell and Logan Essaf. (Courtesy Photo)
By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — The Gilford Screaming Eagles, with alliance partners, TJ (Squared) from Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and The Robotics Team from Dublin, N.H., won the Granite State FIRST Robotics competition held over the weekend in Windham.
The team pulled off a real underdog victory by outscoring 31 other exceptional teams according to Jackie Drever, one of the team's mentors.
''It came down to the final seconds on Sunday," said Drever, who said that the team also received the 2016 Granite State Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers for their community outreach and fund raising strategies.
"It was quite a weekend and a real team effort. Each member of our team had their own assignment and deserves equal credit for our success. Everything fell into place for us over the weekend," said Connor Craigie, a junior who worked with a computer-assisted design program to help design the robot, and was strategist and co-driver over the weekend.
This year's game, FIRST Stronghold, is played by two alliances of three teams each. Alliances compete against each other to breach their opponents' defenses, known as outer works, and capture their tower. They score points by crossing elements of their opponents' outer works, scoring boulders in their opponents' tower goals, and surrounding and scaling their opponents' tower.
The competition sees teams involved in a six-week project in which they build a robot from a kit which is provided for them and requires them to use their math, science, technology and engineering skills to design and program the robot to perform certain tasks which are required as part of the competitions.
"We worked well with the other teams. We attacked with the TJ Squared team and sent Dublin back on defense until we needed their help late in the game to scale the walls," said Craigie.
He said that the Golden Eagles and their partners played 12 rounds in Saturday's qualifying round and won six of their seven matches on Sunday.
In the finals they met an alliance composed of the Cruising Crusaders from Manchester, Air Strike from Newport, Rhode Island, and the Duct Tape Dragons from Portland, Maine.
"We were ahead 98-93, and after the buzzer beeped, the scoreboard read 98-98. But the tally was still going on and we gained five points and when that flashed on the scoreboard our entire team erupted. It was a great win," said Craigie.
The team is preparing for it's next event, the UNH District Competition, March 25-26. The victory over the weekend means that they have already qualified for a spot at the New England FIRST New England District Championship, to be held April 13-16 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. The world championship will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, from April 27 to 30.
The team is one of 3,000 from around the world with an estimated 78,000 students involved in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology competition, which was launched in 1989 by New Hampshire inventor and technological innovator Dean Kamen, with an eye to inspiring students to explore science and technology as future careers.
Gilford High FIRST Robotics Team 1831, The Screaming Eagles, work with technicians to resolve communication issues during District Competition, in Windham. From right to left, Driver Tim Rice, Lead Mentor Mike Andrews, Design Lead Connor Craigie, and FIRST Robotics volunteers. (Courtesy photo)
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