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VHS wins state engineering contest

From staff reports
VINELAND -- The Vineland High School Odyssey of the Mind team won a state championship at the New Jersey OotM finals Saturday.

The "Road Rally" team included Evan Flood, Ali Furman, Elena Obelenus, Mike Spatafore, Katie Giocondo, Gabe Pena, and Jenny Paterno.

The group claimed the state title with a score of 328 points out of 35, coach Sheryl Rasmussen said in a press release. The team placed first in the regional competition March 15 at Ewing High School to qualify for the state finals.

According to the release, Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. The Road Rally problem combines road rallies and sporting events to challenge teams to design, build and operate an original vehicle. The students have to be able to drive it in a road rally that had four checkpoints; at each, the vehicle had to compete in a sports-related event, according to the release.

"I am very proud of the kids," Rasmussen said. "It was a very high level of engineering that went into the project.This year they had to design, build and operate a battery-powered vehicle that would carry a student around a racecourse. They had to transport an object from point A to point B.They were given a very, very small list of allowable batteries.

"It was very difficult to figure out a power source because most motors require a higher amount of volts than most batteries on the list.The students had to do a lot of experimenting and engineering to figure out a solution.They rose to the occasion."

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