Mechanickidz fare well at tourney

Local team finished first- and second-place in two categories at state contest

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The Camas Mechanickidz took home first- and second-place finishes at a recent state tournament. Here, team members Tate Perry and Owen Wilks focus on a task.

A local group of students came home with two trophies after competing in the Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program FIRST LEGO League state tournament.The Camas Mechanickidz competed against 89 other teams, taking first-place in software programming and second-place in robot performance, coming in only one point shy in that category than the winner.

The team was selected for the state competition in December, out of 20 teams at a qualifying competition in Vancouver.

According to team co-coach Jeff Hendricks, the Portland region is the largest in the country with 400 teams.

Teams were judged in four key areas: Robotics performance, core values, team presentation and robot design.

“The team worked tirelessly since the end of summer, meeting several times per week,” Hendricks said.

“A portion of the time was spent understanding the missions for the robot challenge, strategizing the robot development, hardware and software development of the robot, and finally fine tuning the one-of-a-kind creation.”

The goal was to have the robot complete as many successful ‘missions’ in the food factor challenge as possible. The coach and mentors were to help guide the team in each of the four areas of development and prepare for the competition.

One of the missions consisted of a skit demonstrating a prototype to keep bacteria from forming on “take ‘n’ bake” pizzas to a judging panel at the competition.

In addition, they also had to create and present a poster on the First Lego League core values.

Hendricks is pleased with the team’s overall performance.

“The team grew in areas that most kids will not experience until high school or college, performed very well at the competition and had a great experience,” he said.

Team members include Andrew Whitaker, Jordan Hendricks, Jordan Slotto, Maggie Wells, Tate Perry, Gabe Mukobi and Owen Wilks.

Mentors/coaches included Steve Slotto, Ken Perry, Doug Wells and Rick Wilks.

The team was sponsored by Broker Knowledge Group of Camas.