Robots from Tehachapi team 585 and team 4318 balance on the tilting bridge during the final seconds of a match at the Las Vegas FIRST regional games. (Contributed) › View Larger Image
Tehachapi High Robotics Team Heading to FIRST Nationals
Tehachapi High School's Cyber Penguins robotics team will be joining two other high school robotics teams co-sponsored by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in competing at the FIRST Robotics Competition national championships in St. Louis in late April, after winning several awards at a FIRST regional competition April 5-7 in Las Vegas.
The Cyber Penguins and their 2012 robot Vesuvius will join Lancaster High School's Eagle Robotics and Antelope Valley High School's Robolopes, both from Lancaster, Calif., at the FIRST championships April 25-28.
The Tehachapi, Calif., team earned their trip to St. Louis on the basis of the team winning the Chairman's Award, the Safety Award and one of their members, Jacob Copus, being named one of the Dean's List finalists at the conclusion of the Las Vegas regional April 7.
This year's "Rebound Rumble" game required the robots to pick up and shoot basketballs into hoops at either end of the court in both autonomous and remote-controlled mode, as well as attempt to balance one or two robots on a tilting bridge on the sides of the court, the most difficult task of the game.
Although the Cyber Penguins missed out on being named to one of the three-team alliances to compete in the final elimination rounds, the team was honored with the Chairman's Award, the top award in the FIRST robotics program, was awarded Tehachapi High's team on the basis of the five signature practices of its community outreach program -- FIRST In – FIRST Out, FIRST Loves, FIRST Ladies, FIRST and Foremost, and FIRST Impressions – and its overall professionalism. The award recognizes the THS Cyber Penguins team for its performance as a team, a role model and for its community outreach programs, including its dedication to the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education both in Tehachapi and throughout Southern California.
THS senior Jacob Copus, who served as the team's president in 2011, was named a Dean's List finalist for exemplifying the team's ideals and being a role model to new members, including his personal development of a week-long LEGO MindStorms summer camp in which more than 50 third through fifth grade students worked with 10 robotics students to master a daily challenge.
By virtue of their winning performance at a FIRST regional competition in Denver, Colo., two weeks earlier, Lancaster High's Eagle Robotics team qualified for the FIRST national championships. Antelope Valley High's Robolopes had already been invited to participate in the St. Louis event.
In addition to sponsorship by NASA Dryden, the three area high school robotics teams are co-sponsored by numerous civic and business entities in their respective communities.
For more on the high school robotics teams co-sponsored by NASA Dryden, visit:
Alan Brown, Public Affairs
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center