Williamsport 22nd, technical school 55th in robotics

March 23, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

In its first year of participation, Williamsport High School placed 22nd out of 58 teams in a robotics competition over the weekend, Washington County Board of Education officials said Monday.

Washington County Technical High School finished 55th in its second year in the Chesapeake Regional FIRST Robotics Competition on March 19 and 20.

FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

"We realized when we got there that we were not thinking on as big a scale as everyone else," Cory Bush, 16, a junior on the Technical High School team, said Monday.


The Williamsport team and others had overall better robots, he said.

"Some of their ideas were more radical," Bush said. "But it was an excellent experience."

After much labor, including computer programming and sensor adjusting, the two teams finished work on the robots in late February and sent them in crates to the Annapolis competition site.

While the Williamsport team did not meet the goal of co-captain Nick Ceffalia, 17, to win the competition, it came closer to the goal of co-captain Erin Moyer, 16, to win the rookie team of the year award.

Of 19 rookie teams, Williamsport was in fourth place.

"We are all happy with how we placed as a rookie team," Ceffalia said. "I think all rookie teams will do better the second year."

Asked if he is going to be on the team again next year, he said, "Oh yeah!"

Ceffalia said he liked the environment of the competition, and the fact that teams helped each other. For instance, if one team needed a part, another team would give it to them, he said.

Teams are judged on criteria such as how the robot operates, how well the team works together and other factors.

The tasks the robots must complete differ each year.

The robot "worked almost perfectly" on some of its tasks, Ceffalia said.

The team worked together developing the robot, he said.

"We did not just go with one person's idea; we talked about it," he said.

In January, the two teams, along with about 900 others, were told the criteria for this year's competition: The robots they would build in less than two months had to weigh less than 130 pounds.

Each team was sent a box filled with the supplies needed to design a robot.

To gain points in the competition, the robots had to complete such tasks as climbing a 6-inch step, lifting itself at least 1 inch off the ground and pushing and lifting balls of various sizes.

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