The Sequim High Robotics Team was flying high during the FIRST Robotics Seattle Regional Competition held March 28-30 at the CenturyLink Event Center.
The local crew downed dozens of competitors to make its way into the final four in the challenge. While they were at it, they also brought home the Industrial Design Award, given by the judges to the entry that “celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively addresses the game challenge.”
In plain language, said Sequim High Robotics instructor Brad Moore, they had the best-designed robot at the competition.
The judges are experts, he noted, including engineers and several CEOs of area tech companies.
This year’s challenge, Ultimate Ascent, featured matches between two alliances of three teams each.
Each alliance competed by trying to fling as many flying discs into their goals as possible during each two-minute, 15-second match. Discs tossed into higher goals meant more points for the alliance.
Matches ended with robots attempting to climb pyramids located near the middle of the field.
The competition brought together 8,000 students representing 64 teams from both the United States and Canada.
The Sequim squad placed 11th after the qualifying rounds were completed, then they were established as captains of the seventh-seed alliance going into the elimination rounds. The Sequim-led alliance faced the No. 2 alliance, including Team Stealth, which had gone through the qualifying rounds with a perfect 9-0 record.
The Wolves-led alliance beat the Stealth alliance in two out of three, advancing to the semifinal round.
Smart and strong
Moore was impressed with the team's effort. "We even had one of the judges tell me that he would buy our robot he liked it so much. To say the least I was very flattered by the comment."
He added, "The team is very honored to have competed so well in representing our community and the mentors are all extremely proud of the team in every aspect, from building the robot to how well they conducted themselves throughout the competition. These are quality young people with a lot to give our community in the future."
FIRST Robotics promotes “gracious professionalism,” teamwork and cooperation among all competitors. FIRST was started in 1989, by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Scooter, iBOT Mobility System, Stirling engine and more. It's intended to promote interest and excitement for STEM course (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
FIRST also has a separate competition for middle school students.
The primary mentors for the team are Moore and Josh Meyers, an engineer with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Moore said they receive invaluable assistance from Stu Marcy, Austin Henry, Jerry and Gena Royal and Robert Brown.
The team's sponsors include Clallam County 4-H, Sequim JCPenney, Sequim Sunrise Rotary, Sequim Education Foundation, Atlas Technologies and Sequim High School. For more information on sponsoring next year’s team, contact Brad Moore at Sequim High, firstname.lastname@example.org.