Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Robotics team just misses ‘worlds’

‘T-800’ team finishes 2nd in regional competition

Express Staff Writer

A Wood River High School VEX Robotics Competition Team took second place at regional competition last Saturday in Utah, but fell a few points short of qualifying for world championship play scheduled for April in Anaheim, Calif.

Wood River teams won the regional championship last year and the year before, qualifying both years for world competition.

Kevin Lupton, team advisor and instructor at the high school's Architectural and Mechanical Design Academy, took two teams to the regional meet this year at Utah State University in Logan: the Wolverines and T-800, named after the cyborg model portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie "The Terminator."

T-800 qualified for finals among the 27 competing teams but lost its final two matches to an alliance composed of teams from Madison High School in Rexburg and Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, Utah. Both qualified for worlds. The scores were close, with T-800 losing 26-29 and 26-28.

T-800 allied in the final matches with a team from Syracuse High School in Syracuse, Utah. Both T-800 and the Syracuse team ended the competition with second place finishes.

VEX Robotics Competition is sponsored by VEX Robotics Design Systems, a company that designs and builds components for robots. The competition tests the robotic skills of machines designed and built by students. Competition parameters are changed each year, but typically involve testing robotic skills in moving, climbing and picking up or throwing or launching objects.

After winning regional competition for two years in a row, Lupton said, winning for a third year may not have been a realistic expectation.

"To be able to go to worlds two years in a row is amazing," he said. "That's like winning a state basketball championship two years in a row."

Of the 4,400 teams worldwide that participate in VEX Robotics Competition, some of the best are in the Idaho-Utah region, Lupton said. Teams are ranked in various competitions prior to the world event and 10 of the top 100 teams worldwide are in the Idaho-Utah region.

Terry Smith:

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