The Bonny Eagle Robotics Team won a silver medal and snagged an additional engineering excellence prize at a Lewiston competition last weekend.

In its first competition of the year, the 32-student team faced off against 30 other teams at the Pine Tree District Competition, held at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. The team deployed a new robot, BOUNT-E, in 20 short recycling-themed competitions – or “Recycling Rushes” ­ – that tested the machine’s ability to pick up and stack Fed Ex containers.

After placing eighth in the qualifying rounds, the team was picked to join a three-team Southern Maine alliance with the Boys & Girls Club of Portland and the South Portland High School teams. The Southern Maine alliance made it to the final round of the competition, where it lost 2-0 to an alliance formed by Brewer High School, Baxter Academy and Cheverus High School teams.

The Bonny Eagle High School team, which designed BOUNT-E – or the “quicker picker-upper” – in a six-week period earlier this year, also won the Engineering and Excellence Award for its “elegant and advantageous machine feature.”

According to John Direnzo, the lead adviser for the school’s robotics team, BOUNT-E was recognized for its double-boom arm that harnesses the power of gravity in its operations.

“That was the most exciting thing – that our team got noticed for having a robot that was built very well,” Direnzo said.

“I was quite proud of the team because of their performance as a team and the performance of the robot,” he added.

The Bonny Eagle team is ranked 25th out of 175 teams in New England. The team competes again this weekend University of New Hampshire District Competition held at the Whittemore Center Arena in Durham, N.H. If the team remains in the top 40 after this weekend’s competition, it will once again advance to the New England District Championships. Last year, the team advanced to the New England competition but lost in the semifinal round.

According to Jacob Moss, a junior who is the captain of the robotics team, the team’s performance last weekend portends well for the future.

“We got to show off a lot of good traits of our robot and our drive team and their skill,” Moss said. “We made it all the way into the finals, which was good. We lost to the No. 1-seeded team, so I’m feeling pretty confident that when we go to UNH we’ll do well again. We’ll compete there. I’m very confident that we’ll move on to the New England District Championship.”


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