Grand Island High School was the overall winner of the 2011 Tech Wars competition held on Wednesday, Jan. 12, at Niagara County Community College. The Vikings won for the second consecutive year with 49 points, finishing ahead of 2009 champion Lockport, which had 27 final points. Tonawanda City and Williamsville tied for third place with 22 points.
Three students from Lewiston-Porter High School were among the top finishers at the competition, which is a technology fair for all middle and high school technology students with matches in all disciplines of technology education. The event allows students an opportunity to display and demonstrate their technological abilities. Students can enter any project from drawings to robots or bring any project and enter it in the Static/Dynamic Project Display category.
Lew-Port's Sam Buncy won honorable mention in Solid Modeling Dropoff. The team of Sam Buccella and Brandon Davis drove their bot SeaBiscuit Sr. to a second-place finish in the Sumo Robots competition, where robots battle to push an opponent out of a circular ring. Geoff Federspiel of Grand Island won the event, handing SeaBiscuit Sr. its only loss, 15-7 in the finals.
Davis and Buccella won four sumo matches to advance to the finals, when SeaBiscuit Sr. suffered a structural failure.
"The whole plow came off," Davis said. "And we still got three points after that. We didn't give up."
"We just had to change the tactics a little bit," Buccella said of losing the front plow. "Pretty much we lost because he was more powerful than us."
It was their second trip to the finals in the event in as many years. SeaBiscuit Jr. took second last year also.
More than 700 middle school and high school students and faculty from 24 Western New York school districts were in attendance at NCCC. There were 22 competitions including: structural design testing on a seismic shake table, Kid Wind windmill design, CADD/Solid Modeling/Architectural competitions, robotic competitions, bridge crushing, T-shirt design (water and the environment theme), as well as a unique musical instrument design. Awards were handed out to winners in each category.
Tech Wars provided a competitive atmosphere that motivated students in their technology classes to raise the bar. Grand Island students said they spent several late nights at the school working on their projects.
"It's a really good, fun tech program that our school offers," Buccella said. "It's a good experience to learn and work with a team. It's fun."
"We designed it of our own accord," Buccella said of SeaBiscuit. "Some schools this year had advice from other people. We built that 100 percent ourselves."