South Plains students bring home awards in robotics competition - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

South Plains students bring home awards in robotics competition


Imagine the playoffs before the Super Bowl, but instead of football, think robots...

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition Hub City Regional wrapped up at the Citibank Auditorium on Saturday.

Now six winning teams have the chance to compete in the world championships next month in St. Louis, Missouri.

Students worked long and hard to build a state-of-the-art robot that would toss Frisbees into a goal.

John Shellene, Regional Director for the Hub City Competition says this is about more than just about teaching students technical skills.

"Things like team playing, team inspiration, and working in their communities - critical thinking. They're using their creativity for how they design and build their robots on a field that they just learned about," Shellene said.

Shellene says these competitions not only help students build robots, but build their confidence as well.

"Our veteran teams will go and find those rookie teams and say, ‘How can we help you, because we want you as a rookie team to have a great experience on this field and we want to make sure that you're involved, committed, that you're coming back year after year,'" Shellene said.

Cameron Lerch is just a junior at Lee's Summit West High School in Missouri. However, it seems like he already has his future mapped out.

"Once I go to college I'm thinking about going into Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering or Industrial Engineering," said Lerch, co-captain for Team 1986.

There's a different challenge each year. This year, robots had to pick up Frisbees and shoot them into goals. Lerch says it's not easy.

"It's really hard. It's a huge challenge that it takes everybody on our team to find the solution to," he said.

Lerch says each person on the team puts in long hours to get the job done.

"We have 34 kids on our team and we have about 10 kids that spend anywhere from 50-60 hours a week for 6 weeks. So we put in nearly 300 hours or more than that," he said.

Although kids have a lot of fun in these FIRST robotics competitions, Shellene says more importantly, it equips them with skills they need right out of high school.

"The kids aren't just going to do that because they have a good textbook put in front of them. They need to be inspired and then we need to celebrate their successes," Shellene said.

Here are the complete results:

Team 1986 from Lee's Summit, MO: The Quality Award sponsored by Motorola

Team 3931 from Chickasha, OK: The Gracious Professionalism Award sponsored by Johnson & Johnson

Team 1296 from Rockwall, TX: The Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors

Team 1817 from Lubbock, TX: The Judges' Award

Team 932 from Tulsa, OK: The Industrial Safety Award sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories

Teams/Awards that Qualified for World Championship:

Team 4499 from Fort Collins, CO: The Rookie All Star Award

Team 932 from Tulsa, OK: The Engineering Inspiration Award

Team 2468 from Austin, TX: The Chairman's Awards

Winning Alliance Teams (Qualified for World Championship):

Team 1801 from Kountze, TX

Team 1986 from Lee's Summit, MO

Team 3931, from Chickasha, OK

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