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Alpena ROV team highly ranked in world contest

Courtesy Photo This photo, provided by the Alpena High School ROV team, shows the team at the 2019 MATE Underwater Robotics ROV World Championship in Kingsport, Tenn. last week.

ALPENA — The Alpena High School Underwater Robotics Team competed in the Marine Advanced Technology Education Underwater Robotics World Championship last week.

The team traveled to Kingsport, Tenn. and competed with 45 other teams from around the world in seven different scoring events: product demonstration, sales presentation, marketing display, technical documentation, company safety, corporate responsibility, and team collaboration.

Results will not be posted until next week, but the team will place in the top 10 after winning the Best Overall Engineering Vehicle Design Award for the design that lead pilot Josh Beatty developed.

The team has finished in the top 10 at the world championships before, finishing fifth last year.

“The best moment was when we were able to lend our robot for other teams to use,” team safety officer Savannah Thomson said. “It sounds kind of crazy, but when the team from Hong Kong was having camera failure, they took us up on our offer and moved over to our setup and used our robot to complete their section of the mission.”

Thomson received an MVP Engineering Award, which was given to eight individuals out of 1,300 who competed. Thomson said her favorite moment of the competition was the collaboration. Teams were randomly shuffled by MATE officials to make two large teams who competed against each other.

The team helped an explorer level college team from India whose ROV failed just before going into the pool. Thomson and Beatty were honorary members of the India team.

“There was a large language barrier and we could barely understand each other, but the team from India was successful and had completed the mission with enough time left over that we could lend our robot again to another team and help them complete their section of the mission,” Thomson said.

“As sad as it is to see some of the veterans on this team leave (because they graduated), I have great confidence that the returning members will continue the success,” team member Karli Myers said.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.