Members of the Windham Windup compete in the 2014 FIRST Championship in St. Louis on Friday. Anne Browne
NH team makes it to FIRST semifinal
Windham's FIRST robotics team was among the last 16 squads standing Saturday after a field of 400 teams from around the world met in St. Louis for the 2014 championship competition. Windham was part of a four-team alliance that made it to the semifinal round of the event.
Windham's team, the Windham Windup, was one of five from New Hampshire that made the trip. The other New Hampshire teams were from Prospect Mountain High School in Alton, Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro and the Milford Area Youth Homeschoolers Enriching Minds squad.
"It was a very stressful start," Windham High School senior Greg Samsel said Saturday.
But as the event neared its conclusion at the Edward Jones Dome, the 27 students on the Windup crew were chosen to join one of the final alliances to battle for robot supremacy.
Students felt the intense competition from the top teams.
Five New Hampshire squads were among 400 teams from as far away as Israel and the United Kingdom competing with their robots, made from a kit of parts.
Carina Savukinas, a freshman at Windham High, said she tagged along with her brother, Danny, to the FIRST robotics championship last year and liked what she saw.
For Browne, the highlight of the competition was "seeing all the hard work everybody put in," she said. "Seeing how everybody bonded and just came together."
Last month, Windham won top honors at the district competition at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. The team also won the Chairman's Award, which was given to the team that best represents the mission of FIRST.