TD robotics students take honors

Robotics students from The Dalles and Dufur won big at local tournament placing 2nd, 3rd, and 4th out of 18 teams and winning the Judges Award and Community Service Award. Students pictured: back row, Shane Squires, Hayden Jacobsen, Stephen Ganders, Theo Sandoz, Jacob Ganders, Keon Kiser, Cameron Deitz, Alex Gonzalez; middle row: Silvestre Carillo, Colin Schecter, Ian Castaneda, Matthew Miller, Haley James, Stephen Stanley; front: Angel Garcia, Megan Lenardson.

Robotics students from The Dalles and Hood River secured top-4 finishes and earned two judged awards at The Dalles Turns VEX Robotics Tournament this past weekend.

In the VEX Robotics Challenge, students work to solve an engineering challenge that is presented each year in the form of a game. Teams work together to score and show off their skills individually in both driver-controlled and programming Robot Skills Challenges. The 2018–2019 VEX Challenge is called “Turning Point” and challenges students to design, build, and program their robots to attain the highest score by flipping caps, launching balls at targets, and parking on raised platforms.

TDHS–Wasco County 4-H students from 5 Elements and Fusion VEX joined forces in an alliance that placed 3rd out of a field of 18 teams, and Wasco 4-H students from TDMS and Wahtonka placed 4th. Dufur’s team T.H.E. joined up with Sandy High School to place 2nd.

“Our students did exceptionally well in the tournament and were wonderful hosts for visiting teams. It was exciting to enter the gym and have so many local teams competing at such a high level,” said Wasco County 4-H coach Lu Seapy.

With so many quality teams, the battle was tough, according to a press release. Team 5 Elements beat out System Overload in the Skills challenge by just 1 point to secure the last state championship slot.

“Those middle school kids of ours were one point away from making it to state. They did really well,” Seapy said.

In addition to scoring high in the robot game, two teams also earned trophies for judged awards. System Overload earned the Judges Award for their enthusiasm and accomplishments, while Team 5 Elements earned the Community Service award.

Former robotics student and tournament volunteer Jacob Field said, “I think it’s great that there are the competitions for students interested in robotics. It’s good to have non-athletic challenges and competition in addition to sports.”

Oregon VEX Robotics Commissioner Joe Sheppard said, “The tournament in The Dalles was a dream and the experience was fantastic. The Dalles has set the bar high for robotics tournaments for the rest of the year.”

The tournament was sponsored by Google, Jacob’s Engineering, XPO Logistics, Columbia Gorge Technology Alliance and OSU Extension Service.

Individuals interested in learning more about robotics can contact lu.seapy@oregonstate.edu.

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