Three student-athletes help build underwater device

Three student-athletes help build underwater device

Three Lamar University student-athletes were members of another team at LU this past year as they helped design and build the university’s first underwater robot.

Koby Couron and Brannon Beaton of the LU football team, along with LU baseball player Brent Janak, were part of an eight-person unit that created the robot for their senior project in mechanical engineering. Other members of the team were Nicole Ray, Ryan Fregia, Christian Dao, Quade Robertson and Rashaan Webster.

“It was my favorite thing I’ve done academically at LU,” Couron said. “Our professors were really impressed. It was a huge learning process, but it was a blast.”

The robot, which was designed and built from scratch, finished fourth out of 20 entries at a competition in San Jacinto. It was the first time a team from LU entered.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Couron said. “A lot of the schools had entered teams for a number of years. I’m very proud of coming in fourth.”

During the competition, teams maneuvered their robot to perform tasks akin to repairing an oilrig at sea. The person maneuvering the robot could not see the robot but was looking at live images from the robot on a computer monitor.

“We used an Xbox controller,” Couron said. “We all had experience with playing Xbox, so that made it easier.”

However, it was not all fun and games for the team members, who spent countless hours on the project.

“It’s a full-year project,” Couron said. “We designed it in the fall and built in the spring. As it was getting closer to completion, there were some days where we weren’t getting out until 3 a.m. The toughest part wasn’t the programming; it was the electrical wiring. We had about 40 to 50 wires of all different colors in that waterproof tube.”

When it came time to test their robot, the team used the LU pool on a few occasions along with pools at residential complexes.

“More than a few people gave us strange looks when we put it in the pool,” Couron said. “I know a few people were afraid to get into the water.”

Couron noted that the project was so well received that two LU teams want to do the project next year.

And while Couron and his teammates didn’t win the grand prize, they all got what they hoped for – an A on their project. It’s also a great thing to put on a résumé, which is what Couron did as he searches for a job in the mechanical engineering field.

“It’s something people notice and want to talk about,” Couron said. “I know this experience will pay off.”

Couron graduated this spring with a 3.689 grade-point average, while Beaton graduated with a 3.115 GPA. Janak, who has a 3.69 GPA, is on track to graduate this summer.

“We’re proud that we’ve been successful in both athletics and academics,” Couron said. “It isn’t easy to do both, but it’s definitely worth it.”

Lamar golf facility

Lamar golf opened the LU Short Game Area at the Beaumont Country Club in May. The practice facility consists of a chipping green and putting green for the Cardinal golf programs. The facility will also be open to the club members when the golf teams are not practicing.

“We are really excited about this new facility,” said women’s head coach Jessica Steward. “This is really going to help take Lamar golf to the next level. Having a short-game area like this gives us a tremendous edge in performance and recruiting. It is going to help us with every shot in our short game. When you’re trying to convince prospective student-athletes that you can help them with their game this is the kind of tool you need.

“Both Jesse (Mudd) and I would really like to thank Dr. Evans and Jason Henderson for their leadership in getting this done. We also have to thank Diane Shaver and Don Shaver for all of their work in making this a reality. It is a special day for Lamar University golf,” added Steward.

The practice facility will provide the LU men and women with a versatile approach to practice sessions. The greens can be adjusted to mimic how greens will play in future tournament on the schedule. “This was the one thing we’ve always lacked here for our program,” said men’s head coach Jesse Mudd. “The course is great and the range is great, but we didn’t really have a place that was ours to work on our short game. This was the one thing that I really wanted when I came down here. Now that it is complete, it will help not only the current players but with recruiting as well. I think this facility will also help strengthen the bond between the members and our program.

“Other Division I schools may have a similar practice facility that they can use, but this is one of the few that is created specifically for the program. That is a huge advantage for us,” added Mudd.

The LU Short Game Area at the Beaumont Country Club was opened with a chipping and putting competition for those in attendance, with the LU golfers serving as coaches. Each attendee was allowed two balls to chip onto the green with a 3-point and 5-point area surrounding the cup.

Lamar graduates

Ninety-eight Lamar University student-athletes were named to the Southland Conference Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll for the spring semester. Twenty-four of those student-athletes had a perfect 4.0 grade-point average during the semester.

To be nominated for the Commissioner’s Honor Roll, student-athletes must record a 3.0 grade-point average during the semester when their respective sport is in its championship season, and be eligible to play during that season.

The LU baseball team had 21 student-athletes on the honor roll, followed by softball with 15. The women’s track and field team saw 13 student-athletes honored, while the men’s track and field squad placed 12 on the honor roll. Women’s basketball had 10 student-athletes on the list, while the men’s golf and men’s tennis teams each had seven. Women’s tennis had six, women’s golf had four and the men’s basketball team placed three on the honor roll.

The baseball team had five student-athletes post a 4.0 GPA, while softball and women’s tennis had four apiece. Men’s tennis and men’s track and field each had three student-athletes with a 4.0 GPA. The women’s track and field team had two student-athletes with a 4.0 GPA, while women’s basketball, men’s golf and women’s golf each had one.

“We are very proud of our student-athletes’ success in the classroom,” LU Director of Athletics Jason Henderson said. “They all work extremely hard in pursuit of a college degree, and we couldn’t be prouder of all that they accomplish on and off the field.”