After Robotics Wins, Hartford's 'Birds of Prey' Headed To St. Louis
By VANESSA DE LA TORRE
April 02, 2012
HARTFORD —— In the "Rebound Rumble," the Birds of Prey swooped in and won another robotics competition, the team's second in a month.
Now the Hartford students need to prepare for an 18-hour bus ride to St. Louis.
The Northeast Utilities FIRST Connecticut regional event at the Connecticut Convention Center last weekend drew students from 64 teams, all competing in the showdown that is akin to a robotics version of March Madness.
The top finishers, who qualify for the FIRST Robotics National Championship in St. Louis that begins April 25, consisted of the three-team alliance of Southington's Cyber Knights, Hartford's Birds of Prey and the Rocketeers of Clifton Park, N.Y.
The Cyber Knights also won the Delphi Engineering Excellence Award. The Birds of Prey already qualified for St. Louis after winning the Chesapeake Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Baltimore in early March.
Among the area squads that battled on Friday and Saturday were Athena's Warriors, an all-girl team from West Hartford, and the Techno-Nuts of Berlin, which won the event's Chrysler Team Spirit Award. Teams from Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire and one from Texas also competed.
StuyPulse, a team from Stuyvesant High School in New York, won the regional Chairman's Award and can also compete in the national championship.
The Birds of Prey, mentored by Pratt & Whitney, is mostly composed of students from Hartford Public High School's Engineering and Green Technology Academy and Pathways to Technology Magnet High School. A school rally is planned for the team Thursday afternoon at Hartford Public.
Hakiel Hemans, 16, a Hartford sophomore who attends Pathways, said the team gave up its vacation to prepare. City schools were on a break last week.
"Hartford can do well," said Raissa Lana, a 17-year-old Hartford Public junior and the team's captain. The success of Birds of Prey, she said, "shows we have commitment."
The team is working to raise nearly $25,000 to finance the trip to nationals. On Friday, students were informed that the school system planned to give $12,000.United Technologies Corp.has donated $5,000 for the entrance fee and students have been holding school fundraisers.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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