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Middle/High School Student Robotics Teams Excel at Oregon “Bowled Over!”Championship

Top teams have the opportunity to attend the World Championship and apply for special scholarships

Hillsboro, OR, February 27, 2012: The Oregon University System (OUS) is pleased to announce the results of the FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Tournament held on February 26, 2012 at South Meadows Middle School in Hillsboro. The statewide robotics competition brought together 34 winning middle/high school robotics teams to compete with custom-made robots in an all-day competition: “Bowled Over!”  Earlier in February, over 80 teams from around Oregon and SW Washington competed at qualifying tournaments, and the top-performing teams from these events participated in this weekend’s championship.  Four of this weekend’s winning teams have the opportunity to participate in the FTC World Championship to be held in St. Louis, Missouri in April, where they may compete for additional awards and meet with college recruiters.  

Oregon Robotics Tournament & Outreach Program (ORTOP) offers the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) pre-engineering program to help students in grades 8 through 12 begin exploring technical careers, and Oregon boasts one of the largest FIRST Tech Challenge programs in the nation. Each team is comprised of up to ten students in grades 8 through 12 who start the season in the fall by designing and programming a unique robot using a robotics kit called Tetrix. The robots compete on a 12-foot by 12-foot playing field, and during the first 30 seconds, the robots must operate completely autonomously – without human intervention. For the next 120 seconds, team members can assist the robots by sending commands using wireless connections. In this year’s championship Bowled Over! Challenge, teams formed and competed in alliances, with each alliance attempting to get racket balls into crates scattered around the field.  A highlight of the competition this year was some of the robots lifting a crate several feet in the air for bonus points. Since the robots themselves are not large, and must start each match no larger than 18” high, this was an amazing feat of engineering. There were also two full-sized bowling balls on the field which could be moved up a ramp by the robots for extra points.

The Inspire Award, the most prestigious award of the competition, went to Batteries in Black from Westview High School and Meadow Park Middle School in the Beaverton School District. The Inspire Award is awarded to the team that performed well in all judging categories and was chosen as a model FIRST Tech Challenge team. The judges used observations made during interviews and in the pit area, the team’s engineering notebook, and performance on the playing field in determining the winner.  Second place in the Inspire category went to Blue Steel from Hood River High School and third place went to Tiger Team from Newberg High School.  All three of the Inspire Winners will be invited to the FTC World Championship.

The team that served as the captain of the Winning Alliance was Short Circuits from Portland’s Westview High School, who were allied with the Lincoln Nanites from Lincoln High school and Blue Steel from Hood River Valley High School in the competition. The Short Circuits team provided the leadership to pull its alliance together in a series of final rounds that led to the top position in the final elimination. Short Circuits is also being invited to St. Louis based on winning the Inspire Award at an earlier championship tournament held in Seattle, Washington.

This weekend’s tournament included girls and boys from public and private schools, and from rural and urban communities around the state, and many won awards for their outstanding achievements (see summary chart on page 2). Many participants in this robotics program have advanced to this level through ORTOP’s youth program, FIRST LEGO Robotics, for students aged 9-14. Oregon companies and industry associations collaborate with the OUS, hundreds of volunteers, and major youth organizations to implement the programs.  Many of the FTC teams participating have benefited from grants from ORTOP through the generous support of ORTOP sponsors.  Teams who participate in FIRST Tech Challenge or FIRST Robotics Competition have the opportunity to apply for college scholarships reserved specifically for them at prestigious universities around the country, including many in Oregon.

Bruce Schafer, director of industry affairs for OUS, said, “Many congratulations to all the teams that participated in this year’s season.  We look forward seeing them in our engineering and computer science classrooms in the years ahead.”  

ORTOP thanks its generous sponsors for this event, particularly Rockwell Collins as the presenting sponsor and and RadiSys and TechAmerica as Platinum sponsors.  For more information on the program go to: www.ortop.org. All awards from this weekend’s tournament are summarized in the following table.

— OUS —

Award

Team Name

Affiliation

City

Inspire Award, 1st Place

Batteries in Black

West View High School

Meadow Park Middle School

Portland

Inspire Finalist, 2nd Place

Blue Steel

Hood River Valley High School

Hood River

Inspire Finalist, 3rd Place

Tiger Team

Newberg High School

Newberg

Winning Alliance Captain

Short Circuits

Westview High School

Portland

Winning Alliance Team

Lincoln Nanites

Lincoln High School

Portland

Winning Alliance Team

Blue Steel

Hood River Valley High School

Hood River

Promote Award

4-HTWX

Sunset High School

Beaverton

Think Award

Untitled-8

Lakeridge High School

Lake Oswego

Rockwell Collins Innovate Award

2 Much Sense

Amity High School

Amity

Connect Award

4-HTWX

Sunset High School

Beaverton

PTC Design Award

Charlie’s Angels

Banks Neighborhood

Banks

Motivate Award

Short Circuits

Westview High School

Portland

Finalist Alliance Captain

Guess & Check

St. Helens High School

St. Helens

Finalist Alliance Team

Skullz

West Salem High School

Salem

Finalist Alliance Team

Process of Elimination

St. Helens High School

St. Helens

 

Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities and one branch campus, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu.

 FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With the support of many of the world’s most well-known companies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) for high-school students, FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) for children 9-14 years old, and Junior FIRST LEGO® League (Jr.FLL) for 6 to 9 year-olds. For more information, go to www.usfirst.org