Catch it if you can – Sen. Steve Knight plays catch the Frisbee with the team's ENIAC practice robot while members of the Eagle Robotics look on during their visit to the state capitol. (Contributed) › View Larger Image
Team members, overseen by NASA Dryden's chief technologist and team mentor David Voracek (at top), work on their robot during preparation for the competition. (Contributed)
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Eagle Robotics team members Jennifer Patton, Amber Tepe, Bradley Hall and Amanda Tepe (from left) display the resolution introduced by Sen. Knight commending them for their accomplishments. (Contributed)
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Lancaster High Eagle Robotics team #399 members watch intently as state Sen. Steve Knight tries his hand at controlling the team's practice robot for the FIRST competition. (Contributed)
› View Larger Image After a whirlwind visit to the California State Capitol in Sacramento and participation in the regional FIRST Robotics competition at the University of California campus in nearby Davis during their spring break from classes, the Lancaster High School Eagle Robotics team was in action again the following weekend at the Inland Empire regional robotics contest in San Bernardino.
The Lancaster High School team is one of only three local high school robotics teams co-sponsored by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center that are participating in the FIRST robotics competitions this spring. Tehachapi High School's Cyber Penguins is also competing at the San Bernardino event, while Antelope Valley High School's Robolopes has a bye this weekend but will participate in the Las Vegas regional games April 4-6.
During their visit to the state capitol March 20, the Lancaster High students were able to demonstrate their 2013 practice robot to Sen. Steve Knight (R-21), who represents the students' home district in the state senate, members of his staff, and to visitors to the historic building on the Capitol Mall. Sen. Knight and a group of school children even played catch with the robot as the machine tossed Frisbees toward them.
The following day, many of the students attended a session of the state senate, and were honored with a senate resolution introduced by Knight commending them for their accomplishments. Other members of the team were at the UC Davis campus the same day to prepare their robot for the weekend competition.
On Friday and Saturday, the Eagle Robotics team and their alliance partner teams scored well in the preliminary and semi-final rounds, defeating the top-seeded alliance to qualify for the finals, but lost in the finals due to technical glitches with their robot. Despite the setback, the judges selected the Lancaster team for the Excellence in Engineering Award for their robot's design and operation.
Teams that score high in their regional competitions, or meet other criteria as determined by judges at those events, can qualify to participate in the FIRST Robotics national championship, scheduled for April 24-27 in St. Louis.