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Liberty makes big splash in underwater robotics

Deep Six team members Noah Eid, at left, and Stephen Arnsparger won first place at the SeaPerch South regional competition and qualfied for to the National SeaPerch Championship in Manassas, Va.

After organizing only one year, a team from Liberty Middle School made a big splash at the SeaPerch South regional competition.

The SeaPerch Underwater Robotics Team from Liberty hooked several top places at the robotics meet at Mississippi State University on Feb. 25. They competed in the senior division, including grades 7-12.

The Department of Defense and U.S. Navy sponsor SeaPerch, which strives to find the next generation of naval architects, along with marine, naval and ocean engineers. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) manages SeaPerch.

Liberty students Stephen Arnsparger and Noah Eid won first place.

Caitlyn McFadden, Eric Lozano, Arvind Draffen and Cade Walsh ranked in second place, followed by Beth Viers, Mary Haddock and Nick Lott, fourth place; and Jack Cook, Calvin Bush, Ethan Canup and Eli Canup, fifth place.

“The first-and second-place teams have been invited to the National SeaPerch Championship in Manassas, Va.,” coordinator and math teacher Nathan Pahman said. Team mentors were Clark Eid, Will Cook, Tom Bush, Tim Lott and Matt Harrison.

Each of the four teams began with kits that included PVC parts, motors and (other components) and designed and built their own robot.

“This year’s competition involved using the principles of buoyancy to perform a deep-water salvage,” Pahman said. The SeaPerch team practiced from three to five times weekly and used the pool at Country Hearth Inn on Madison Boulevard.

Students were required to attend meetings and practices. “Students were chosen from grades 7-9,” Pahman said.

Mississippi State hosted the competition at the Joe Frank Sanderson Center Pool.

“The first- and second-place teams are looking for individual and corporate sponsors to help with trip costs to Virginia for SeaPerch National Championship in April,” Pahman. The teams will accept checks to “LMS Robotics/Nationals” (include telephone and driver’s license numbers).

For more information, visit seaperch.org.

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