By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald
INDIANAPOLIS — Washington’s SeaPerch teams took home gold at last Saturday’s national competitions at the IUPUI Natatorium.
The WHS NJROTC STEM team won first overall out of 100 teams competing at the national finals. The NJROTC team took first in the obstacle course and the deep water transfer portions of the competition, and received special recognition in the technical innovation.
The WHS Engineering team, who won state competition last month, also received honors at national competition. The team took third place in the deep water transfer stage.
The NJROTC STEM team of Daniel San Augustin, Laura Rainey, Noah Gaither and Shyanne Burch received the national title trophy. The Hatchet Engineering team consisted of Andrew Kingsolver, Timothy Webb, Alex Evans, Ethan Clark, Lauren Walker, Draven Harvey and Jacob Gross.
WHS Principal LeAnne Kelley said Monday the accomplishments the team made on Saturday were “phenomenal to watch.”
“To think about 4,000 teams nationwide beginning and for us to have two teams in it in the end, it is absolutely huge,” Kelley said. “It’s still sinking in,” Capt. Neil May of the NJROTC program said. “It’s really cool that (this win) was in an educational category.”
The road, or this case pool, to the win was not easy for the team. Although both teams had set national records in practice at the Daviess County Family YMCA, the transition to the natatorium had bumps.
“The team blew an engine,” May said. “Luckily, they had one ready to go.”
Both teams impressed the engineers from Purdue, Rose-Hulman and NSWC Crane judging the competition.
“They were really taken by our design,” May said.
Kelley, who went to Indianapolis to watch the teams compete, said the win was a reward for the long hours and hard work both teams put in.
“The win itself could be a springboard for the results we are looking for in the STEM initative,” Kelley said.
May said the win, no matter the club, is a win for Washington High School.
“We pushed each other to a level of excellence,” May said. “It was an entire
win for the school.”
Video of the awards ceremony, including a speech from NSWC Crane Commander Alan Pratt, can be found at www.seaperch.org.
The competition is sponsored by a variety of defense and naval organizations including NSWC Crane.