Students with 4-H in The Dalles placed third at an underwater robotics competition in Lincoln City that tested their engineering and problem-solving skills.
The team, named the “ROV Sharks,” was representing Wasco County 4-H and took home the third-place trophy in the intermediate level “Navigator” category.
They were one of 31 teams from Oregon that participated in the state’s 6th annual Marine Advanced Technology Education Remotely Operated Vehicle competition on April 29 at the pool at the Lincoln City Community Center.
More than 200 students from elementary school through college demonstrated devices they built for the competition, which aims to prepare students for technical careers.
Besides The Dalles, teams hailed from Astoria, Warrenton, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Newport, Toledo, Eddyville, Waldport, Florence, Bandon, Albany, Aloha, Tigard and Beaverton.
The competition, which was coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant and sponsored by the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, was divided into four categories based on skill and grade level.
The first-place finisher in the “Ranger” category, a team from Newport High School, will advance to the 16th annual international competition, which will be held June 23-25 in Long Beach, Calif., and will feature the top 60 teams from around the globe, including ones from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Russia. Teams in the “Navigator” and “Scout” category do not advance.
The Oregon event is one of 30 regional contests around the world that are coordinated by the California-based Marine Advanced Technology Education Center.
Each year a new theme is chosen. This year’s theme highlights the role of remotely operated vehicles – or ROVs – in monitoring the environment and supporting industries in port cities. Like port managers and marine researchers, the students at the Lincoln City contest guided their robots through tasks that simulated identifying cargo containers that fell overboard, repairing equipment, and taking samples of hypothetically contaminated sediment and shellfish. Students also presented marketing materials they created and gave engineering presentations.
Additional support for the event came from the MATE Center, the Marine Technology Society, the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Oregon State University, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Georgia-Pacific Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Over 50 volunteers from these and other organizations ran the competition and served as judges and divers.
Winners of the Oregon competition are:
RANGER CLASS (intermediate level, 1st place finisher advances to international competition)
1st Place – The Finnovators from Newport High School in Newport
2nd Place – Knight Marine from Valor Christian School International in Beaverton
3rd Place – R.U.W.E. from Taft High School in Lincoln City
NAVIGATOR CLASS (intermediate level, participates only in regional competition)
1st Place – Laveer Enterprise from Life Christian School in Aloha
2nd Place – EROV from Taft High School in Lincoln City
3rd Place – ROV Sharks from Wasco County 4-H in The Dalles
SCOUT CLASS (novice level, participates only in regional competition)
1st Place – Valor Tech from Valor Christian School International in Beaverton
2nd Place – Jet Sky from Siuslaw High School in Florence
3rd Place – Water Warriors from Warrenton Grade School in Warrenton
Team Spirit Award – Water Warriors from Warrenton Grade School in Warrenton