BERT, the radio-controlled robot built by the Bonny Eagle Robotic Team – hence, the acronym – will compete in regional competition Friday and Saturday in Manchester, N.H.

The 27-member team and its advisers left Bonny Eagle High School by coach Wednesday.

BERT is a 4-foot tall, 120-pound robot that is battery powered. The team received a box of parts in January from the contest organizers, and was given six weeks to create a robot for the competition.

This year’s competition requires the robots to place inner tubes on a rack. Shooting basketballs last year, the Bonny Eagle robot took top regional honors, earning a trip to national competition. The team finished seventh in its division in Atlanta, Ga.

“We were pretty proud of that,” said John DiRenzo of Buxton, one of the team’s coaches.

The team is optimistic this year. Jon Simpson of Buxton, a team tri-captain, said they received compliments from national judges last year. “We’re aiming high again this year,” said Simpson, a senior who has been on the team three years.

Josiah Plummer of Limington is a home-schooled senior and has been a team member for four years. He’s one of the three captains. Plummer said this year’s robot is ready mechanically.

BERT was created and shipped to Manchester by the Feb. 20 deadline. Before that, students tested BERT, who traveled 50 feet in 4.65 seconds in a trial run.

“Our robot is pretty fast,” Plummer said.

Plummer and Ian Delisle, a junior from Hollis, will operate BERT in the competition.

“Hopefully, they’ll drive it like they stole it,” said Ron Garland, a coach from the team sponsor, Eagle Industries of Hollis.

Delisle is ready. “I think we’re going to be good at what we do,” Delisle said.

“I’m hoping we do well. We have a good team this year,” said another tri-captain, Amanda Roberge of Hollis, a junior.

Another coach, Mike Matthews of Standish, said the team also captured regionals in 2001 and went to DisneyWorld in Florida for the national finals. He praised the robotic program and the quality of the team’s members. “It’s a real good program,” Matthews said.

Cutline (BERT 2)

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