Antelope Valley High School robotics team mentor Myrle McLernon and team member Kenny Hermosillo adjust the grapple on the hoisting arm of their robot during a break in the FIRST Robotics regional competition in Long Beach March 20. (NASA JPL photo / Tony Greicius) All three high school robotics teams sponsored or supported by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center – Lancaster, Antelope Valley and Tehachapi – were in action at FIRST Robotics regional meets during the third and fourth weekends of March.
Lancaster High School's Eagle Robotics, Team 399, competed in the Colorado Regional Games in Denver March 26 – 27, finishing in fifth place out of 47 teams at the end of the qualification round on Friday. After being chosen by the first seeded team for a three-team alliance, the combined teams swept through the quarterfinals in two matches and moved into the semi finals, winning their first game.
Then Murphy's Law – "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong" – raised its ugly head.
Radio communication problems hindered one robot of the alliance during the second match, and as a result they lost that game. The same communication problems cropped up during the third match, and a second alliance member had power issues. With two weakened alliance members, the alliance was no match for the alliance that eventually won the overall competition.
But all was not lost for Eagle Robotics. The Lancaster High team was honored with the Engineering Inspiration award, is the second-highest award given at a regional event, qualifying the team to compete in the Atlanta Championships in mid-April. The award celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team's school and community.
Antelope Valley High School Team #2339's controllers maneuver their robot against another team's robot at the FIRST robotics regional competition in Long Beach March 20. The team is one of three supported in part by NASA Dryden. (NASA JPL photo / Tony Greicius) Antelope Valley High School's "Robolopes," Team 2339, competed in the Los Angeles Regional March 26-27. They finished 39th out of the 58 teams competing during the elimination rounds, and did not qualify to participate in the FIRST National Championships.
Tehachapi High School's Cyber Penguins, Team 585, competed at the Salt Lake City regional games March 19-20. Although they did well during the preliminary round, technical glitches besieged the team's robot during the quarterfinals and they were eliminated from further competition at that meet. Tehachapi's team will get another chance to qualify for the nationals the weekend of April 2-3 when they compete at the Las Vegas Regional Games.
One student each from the Lancaster and Tehachapi teams were one of two students honored at each regional meet as FIRST Dean's List Finalists. Trevor Londergan from Lancaster High and Taylor Wood from Tehachapi High were selected for the first-year award for exemplifying the ideals of FIRST. Ten of the 96 students honored at the regional meets will be selected at the FIRST Robotics national championships to be the first ever class of Dean's List award winners.
FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology –developed the annual robotics competitions to promote student interest in mathematics, science and technology-based career fields and related academic curricula.