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Ice Warriors Storm Into Regional Robotics Competition

[A photo for newspaper use is available at]

The North Country Ice Warriors, the Clarkson University-Massena High School-Potsdam High School US FIRST Robotics Competition Team, recently competed in the 1999 UTC New England Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Hartford, Conn., placing 31st in the competition.warriors

Nine Clarkson University students, 21 Massena High School students, and three Potsdam High School students traveled to the competition, which took place at the Meadows Music Theater. The team was accompanied by team adviser Tina C. Yuille, director of Clarkson’s SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) Program, and Massena High School teachers Bernie Bissonnette and John Croasdaile. The Ice Warriors competed against teams from New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Virginia.

“This is a great rookie year finish and we are quite proud of the team’s accomplishments. We had a lot of fun and look forward to competing in next year’s FIRST Robotics Competition,” said Yuille. “We would not have been successful without the hard work and dedication of the Clarkson students, high school student and teachers, parents, and the community.”

The goal of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is to “inspire curiosity and create interest in science and mathematics among today’s youth by immersing them in the world of engineering, and showing the important connection between classroom and real world applications.” Each year, the FIRST Robotics Competition is centered on a new engineering challenge in which teams have only six weeks to design and build their robot for the game. Each team, in essence, is a partnership between both corporations and high schools, or universities and high schools (as is the case with the Ice Warriors).  Four teams, paired into two alliances, competed in each match of this year’s game, “Double Trouble.” Each alliance works together to try and beat the other alliance by scoring the most points in two-minute matches. Nearly 300 teams from across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico are involved in this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition.

The Ice Warrior, with its basic but robust design, proved to be a formidable opponent. The robot was operated by Massena High School senior Matthew Macaulay, and Massena junior Matthew Hubert. Massena senior Travis Durant was the team’s human player. Clarkson University electrical engineering student Kimberly O’Toole, the team leader, and Massena senior Megan Ledger coached the players on the best strategies during the eight qualifying matches.  The rest of the team, clad in team T-shirts, face paint, Ice Warrior Buttons, posters, pom-poms, horns, and hand-clappers tirelessly cheered on the players, during the matches, and feverishly optimized the robot between matches.

The Ice Warriors are a part of SPEED, which promotes project-based learning opportunities by providing engineering design opportunities for Clarkson students through 16 project activities including the U.S. FIRST Robotics competition.  SPEED is supported by grants from General Electric and General Motors.

Major sponsors of this year’s team included MITEL, Clopman’s Massena Corp., GM Powertrain, Knights of Columbus Council #1141, Moser’s Custom Trim Shop, Norwood Hobby Shop, New York Power Authority, Out of the Woods, ALCOA, Walsh Trucking Services, Massena Confederation of School Employees, and the Massena Federation of Teachers.

PHOTO CAPTION: Members of the 1999 North Country Ice Warriors pose with their entry into the 1999 New England Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, the Ice Warrior.  Front Row (sitting L-R): Jeffrey Andrews, Clarkson University (CU); Matthew Macaulay, Massena High School (MHS); and Eric Ashley, MHS. First Row: Mary Corinne Howe, Potsdam High School (PHS); Renee Jacklitsch, CU; Matthew Hubert, MHS; Nathan Clopman, MHS; Kimberly O’Toole, CU; and Megan Ledger, MHS. Second Row: David Eno, PHS; Adam Wilson, MHS; Alan Barber, MHS; Andrew Theisen, CU; Trevor Grondin, CU; Robyn Jackey, CU: Shaun Engel, MHS; Troy Dishaw, MHS; and Erin Murphy, PHS. Third Row: Darcy Engel, parent; Joe Engel, parent; Sherry Engel; Jeremy Soulia, MHS; Patrick Lamay, MHS; Sean Corbett, PHS; and Travis Durant, MHS. Fourth Row: Cynthia Howe, parent chaperone; Nancy Hubert, parent chaperone; Kaiyan Jin, CU; Joshua Dishaw, MHS; Justin Stinnet, CU; and Sarah Fregoe, MHS. Not pictured: Nicholas Macaulay, MHS; Martin Lonkey, MHS; Jay Delisle, MHS; Steven Fenton, MHS; and Craig Reynolds, CU.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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