Ozaukee High team tops global competition at NASA training center
The slogan on the front of the T-shirts worn by members of the Ozaukee High School underwater robotics team at the MATE International ROV Competition proved to be prophetic.
The shirt proclaimed, “Houston … We don’t have a problem.”
The team — Ozaukee Robotics — placed first in its division during competition held June 23 to 25 at the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas.
Competing in the Ranger class, the team faced challenges from 39 squads representing 11 countries.
The eight-member Ozaukee team and their remote-controlled underwater robot Squirtlebot had the highest score in its class, with 567 out of a possible 610 points.
By comparison, the team from Salinas, Calif. finished a distant second with 532 points, followed by the third-place showing by a team from Mount Laurel, N.J, with 495 points.
In addition to the overall title, Ozaukee Robotics won awards for the highest pool mission score (290 out of 320 possible points) and the “Biggest Bang for the Buck” for spending the least amount of money on a vehicle that performed well.
Beyond taking part in the competition, the team got to interact with counterparts from such far flung nations as Indonesia, Hong Kong, Russia, Denmark and Canada.
Team members also got to meet NASA personnel and tour the full-scale model of the International Space Station.
This year’s team spent more than $2,400 and 180 hours outside of class time assembling its robot, which had to perform simulated industrial and scientific tasks in the buoyancy pool.
The team operated as a business, with each member considered an employee of Ozaukee Robotics.
Leading the team as its CEO was junior Josh Vogt, who was also a software engineer. Other team members were juniors Nick Marz, software engineer; Connor Freiburger, mechanical/electrical engineer; and Joseph Ceranski, mechanical/electrical engineer; sophomores Zach Wagner, mechanical engineer; Hannah Bell, technical writer; and Hannah Nordby, technical writer; and freshman Jarrod Bares, electrical engineer.
Randy Vogt was the team’s adult mentor.
It was the seventh time an Ozaukee High team advanced to the global competition, and the second time it came home with a title. Four years ago, the squad won the showdown in Orlando, Fla.
Josh Vogt said the team succeeded because it was able to work as a unit.
“We learned to work well together and we all became very good friends,” he said.
“Each member on the team invested a massive amount of time and effort into this project, and it was very rewarding to see that all our hard work paid off.”
Image Information: MEMBERS OF THE champion Ozaukee Robotics team are (front row, from left) Nick Marz, Hannah Bell, Zach Wagner, (back row) Josh Vogt, Joseph Ceranski, Connor Freiburger, Jarrod Bares, Hannah Nordby and adult mentor Randy Vogt.