Robotics team dominates at regional tourneys

World championships will be at the end of April in St. Louis

A local robotics team will be testing its mettle at the world championships next month.

Team Mean Machine, consisting of students from Washougal, Camas, Hayes Freedom and Hockinson high schools won the regional championships in Seattle recently. They played nine matches, competing against 50 other teams from across the United States and Turkey.

“We won eight of our nine matches and were never ranked less than first place,” club advisor and mentor Briana Abraham said. “Team Mean Machine dominated the competition in Seattle. Then, throughout quarter, semi and finals we held strong to become regional champions.”

The team is a part of FIRST Robotics. It was founded in order to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in mentor-based programs that build these skills, encourage innovation and foster independence and problem-solving, according the website www.usfirst.org.

This year’s kickoff began in January, when teams from all over the world were introduced to the game for the 2011 season, Logomotion. In this game, six robots compete to hang as many inflated triangles, circles and squares on posts in a timed match. At the end, robots can release minibots to race up a pole and receive bonus points.

After learning the rules to the game, students have six weeks to design, build and program a robot to compete in regional contests.

“We estimate that we put over 2,200 hours into building and practicing with our robot,” Abraham said.

It has paid off. Mean Machine team members will travel to St. Louis the last weekend in April.

The team was also awarded the industrial design for engineering award, in addition to sweeping the regional competition. The award is sponsored by General Motors and is given to the team whose robot, “celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively achieves the game challenge.”

This past weekend, the team also took first place at the Autodesk Portland Regional competition. In addition, team members earned an additional “Coopertition” award. It is given to the team that best demonstrates “gracious professionalism,” or a willingness to help other teams compete.

Team Mean Machine members are:

Camas High School: Henry Midles-captain, Hans Cocks, Griffen Gorsuch, Natalie Janson, Brett Johnson, Kurt Johnson, Jongkon Khommonthian, Andrew Klement, Catherine Le, Jordan Mazi, Andrea Saechao, Zachary Spratt, Nicholas Thornley, James Wasson and Victor Zhang.

Hayes Freedom High School: Kelsey Hayes.

Washougal High School: TJ Houze, Patrick McCarthy, Romney Kellogg, Carolin Scheibel, Anna Kellogg, Jacob Wright, Jared Freeman and Riley Taylor.

Hockinson High School: Keefe and Isabella Koenig.

Team mentors are: Head coach Mohit Abraham, club advisor Brianna Abraham, and mentors Pete Ackerman, Carlo Calica, Bud Hayes, Kirstie Hayes, Alexander Korolkov, Jason Marr, Roy Thornley and Bruce Whitefield.

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