Robotics club takes first

Team wins regional contest, will head to internationals later this month

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Contributed photo Members and mentors of Team 2471 "Team Mean Machine," a Camas based FIRST Robotics team, confer during the regional competition in Seattle. The team, which includes students from Camas, Washougal and Hockinson high schools, took first in the three-day event and will be advancing to the world championships at the end of the month.

After three days full of twists and turns, Team Mean Machine came out on top.

The Camas-based Robotics Club, which also includes students from Washougal and Hockinson high schools, won the Seattle FIRST Regional Robotics Competition, which advances them to the World Championships in St. Louis at the end of the April.

It will be the team’s second trip to the world competition. Last year, they also placed first in Seattle and secured a spot.

“It was a competition full of tests,” mentor Bob Croucher said. “It was neither easy nor pretty.”

The team also won the Delphi Engineering Excellence Award. Head mentor Bruce Whitefield described the competition as a group effort.

“I lost count of the number of times the robot was damaged and rapid-fire repairs finished with mere seconds to make it to the field,” he said in an e-mail to team members. “It was truly a team effort in preparation, in participation and to overcome many obstacles.”

The theme for this year’s competition was Rebound Rumble, which is essentially robot basketball, with modified rules from the original game.

“We completely broke down no less than six different times,” Croucher said. “But with a lot of hard work and shockingly fast repairs, we stuck to it.”

Due to financial constraints, Team Mean Machine will only be taking 10 students and four mentors to St. Louis for the international competition, held Wednesday, April 25 to Saturday, April 28. Although flights have been paid for, it has drained the team’s account to nearly zero, according to Croucher. In addition, team members and mentors must come up with money for hotel rooms, transportation and food.

They are currently attempting to raise funds to cover part of the cost. Donations can be made at, and are tax deductible.

“We have not yet paid for our hotel rooms and we would like to replenish some of our funds buffer, so we can continue to do local events this summer and next fall,” Croucher said.

Team members who participated in the Seattle competition are Azriel Achterbosch, Megan Bachmann, Ryan Berg, KT Boyd, Bryce Croucher, Griffen Gorsuch, Natalie Janson, Kurt Johnson, Anna Kellogg, Romney Kellogg, Andrew Klement, Keefe Koenig, Catherine Le, Jordan Mazi, Henry Midles, Collin Murray, Jonah Runde, Maggie Smith, Zach Spratt, Riley Taylor, Nicholas Thornley and James Wasson. Mentors include Bruce Whitefield, Bud Hayes, Carlo Calica, Debby Prentice-Thornley, Jason Marr, Karl Koenig, Kirstie Hayes, Pete Ackerman, Robert Croucher and Roy Thornley.