Santa Rosa Christian School took first place at the Deep-C/Remote Operated Vehicle Competition at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama this weekend.

The event brought together six schools - each of which designed and built a vehicle that was submerged in a pool and tested on its ability to maneuver through hoops, pick up rings, skim items off the top of the water, measure the size of photos of wildlife and complete other tasks. The purpose of the competition was to simulate missions similar to those done in exploration in the marine industry.

Physics teachers Adam Watt and John Gambold at Santa Rosa Christian took five students: Joel Simmons, Will Blankenship, Hunter McKinnon, Chase Askins and Devin Zwolski to the Sea Lab over the weekend for the competition.

The win wasn't easy for Santa Rosa Christian - they had a few surprises before the competition even began. First, the pool was much cloudier than the team had been expecting - but that simulated how underwater exploration is in the field.

A second problem occurred right before the start of the competition. The ROV had a camera attached and the pilot had to watch through a video screen to maneuver in the pool. The team had two problems with their video feed 15 minutes before the competition began.

"We didn't think we were going to have a team to go out there," Gambold said. "But they figured out what it was and fixed it."

Each student and the school received a trophy and the students are looking forward to designing and building their ROV for next year.

The competition was funded by a grant from BP/ The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative and is the result of a teacher workshop conducted at the Sea Lab in July. At the workshop teachers, including Watt and Gambold, learned how ROVs were used during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and how they are used to discover the ocean.

For the full story about the Santa Rosa Christian School team, click here.