WAKEFIELD, R.I. — The Prout School’s robotics team, Hyperion, and its two alliance partners, finished first in this year’s Rhode Island state championships of the FIRST Tech Challenge. The event was held on Saturday, Feb. 9 at New England Institute of Technology’s Automotive Center in Warwick.
This year’s challenge was called “Rover Ruckus,” a nod to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that put the first humans on the moon. Robots were challenged to “descend from the lander,” “collect minerals from a crater,” and place the minerals in the “cargo hold.”
This is the second year in a row that Prout’s Hyperion team has claimed the state championship as part of a three-team alliance that won the final match after a full day of competition. Thirty-one teams competed at the event, including teams from Bishop Hendricken High School, North Kingstown High School, Barrington High School, The Wheeler School, Narragansett High School and Rocky Hill School.
Said Principal David Estes, “The Hyperion robot’s excellent performance was the result of months of deliberate and diligent planning and lots of trial and error on the part of our students, their advisor Mrs. [Donna] Balcezak, and several dedicated parent mentors. For the second year in a row, our students have captured the top spot, along with two strong and enthusiastic alliance partners. What a great way for our students to learn about working together towards a common goal.”
The other two teams in the winning alliance with Prout were the Cybears from Shoreline Robotics club in Westerly and the Gold Diggers from Mt. Hope High School in Bristol.
Last year, Prout’s Hyperion team represented the state of Rhode Island in the super-regional competition in Scranton, Pa. This year, the FIRST organization opted to eliminate the super-regional competitions. State champions now progress directly to the world competition. The Cybears, the captain of the Shoreline/Prout/Mt. Hope alliance, will go on to represent the state of Rhode Island at the world competition in Detroit on April 25-28, 2019.
US Rep. Jim Langevin addressed the teams and praised them for their hard work and good sportsmanship.
In addition to its robot’s competitive success, Prout took home the Design Award, which is presented to a team that best incorporates industrial design elements into their solution.
Prout was also second runner-up for the Inspire Award, the highest award a team can be given. The Inspire Award winner is an inspiration to other teams, acting with “gracious professionalism” both on and off the playing field.
Prout was second runner up for the Motivate Award and first runner up for the video Promote Award, acknowledging the team’s spirit and enthusiasm during the competition.
The Prout robotics team is captained by seniors Isabella Abilheira (Narragansett) and Andrew Ferreira (Hope) and junior Eli Messer (West Kingston). Team sponsors include South County Health, Providence Engineering Society, Schneider Electric and Greenwood Credit Union.