College of Southern Maryland collegiate robotics team, the Talons, won the Tournament Champion Award and the Excellence Award at Purdue University’s robotics competition Jan. 26 in West Lafayette, Ind.
“This was the most challenging competition yet, as they were up against some big universities — Purdue University and University of Illinois, Urbana, as well as Marion Technical College,” said CSM Professor Bernice Brezina, who is the team’s faculty adviser and coach. “Purdue was the team to beat. Their robots were exceptional, but the Talons’ were better,” she said of the team’s two robots, which were built, programmed and tested by the CSM team front from left, team captain Willy Hamel and John Hamel, of Mechanicsville; and back from left Chiebuka Ezekwenna and Stewart Smith, of Waldorf; Jacob Brezina, a junior member, of Swan Point and Jonathan Frank of Indian Head, along with team members not pictured, Tiffany Lei, Jimmy O’Brien, Ngan Ngo, Heather Stripling and Christopher Williams of Waldorf; Nathan Hancock of Bryantown and Mark Mahan of Nanjemoy. The Excellence Award was judged by Purdue University engineering and computer science professors and is the highest level award of VEX Robotics competition given to the top all-around team in robot performance and judging. The award earned at an official VEX Robotics competition puts the Talons in the running to contend for the Excellence Award at the VEX Robotics World Championship Anaheim, Calif., in April.