Results from World Championships Press Release

Posted by daviddalegearhead On May 20, 2013 Comments Off on Results from World Championships Press Release

The Granite City Gearheads, the District 742 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics team recenty returned from the FIRST Robotics World Championships. World Championships took place in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 24 to 27. Around 400 FRC (FIRST Robotic Competition) teams competed at the Championships to win the event, as well as for other awards given by FIRST. All teams praticpating in the FRC were given a build challenge called Ultimate Ascent, a frisbee-themed game that required robots to shoot discs into disc-golf style goals and climb a multi-level pyramid to score points.

The Gearheads, FRC Team 3244,  formed four years ago, accepts high school students from both Tech and Apollo, transcending the rivalry that typically effects the two schools in athletics. They also accept students from Cathedral and other schools in the area. This is the first time that the Gearheads have qualified to go to nationals.They were picked as a member of the winning allience by Team 525, the S.W.A.R.T Dogs, and Team 2052, Knightkrawler, as a member of the winning allience at the Minnesota 10,000 Lakes Regional in Minneapolis. Team Captain David Dale said, "Going to World Championships was a total surprise for us. We were hardly expecting to be picked, and to win was even better."

In order to make it to the World Championships, the team had to raise some $15,000 in order to make it to Nationals. The first $5000 dollars, a registration fee for the event, was literally due with only a few days notice.This fee was graciously covered by one of their sponsors, Grede Foundries. Donovan Magney, a team member, said, "Without Grede, we could not afford to go to World Championships. They also payed for our kit of parts, and provided us engineering support." The team managed to raise the rest of the funds, which covered travel expenses, thanks to generous individuals and area buisnesses.

The team arrived at St. Louis for several days full of intensive competition. The team battled hard and were victorious in one of their matches and contributed a majority of the points their alliance earned in several others.  They placed 94th in their division. However, the ranking system is not always reflective of a team's abilities. "The rankings acording to [the] FIRST system is completely based on the alliances points and wins, and it is not based on on your teams points like it should be. Also, alliances are randomly generated, which can negatively affect your score on the FIRST ranking system." stated Corey Wenning, one of the team's scouts. This is easily demonstrated by analyzing the statisical ranks of the team. For example, in one of the Gearheads's matches, they were paired with two robots that had broken down. If that match alone had gone differently, then the team's placing could have been up to ten points higher. While they did not do as well as they hoped, the Gearheads were glad to get the chance to go to World Championships. Simply making it that far places the Gearheads in the top 6.37% of 2,548 FRC teams worldwide.

With the competitive season over, the Gearheads are now planning for promotional events. However, the students have been very busy juggling schoolwork to catch up from nationals, and have therefore been forced to push some of their promotional events back till next fall. The team is also currently looking for new coaches to take over next year, as well as more mentors. As always, the team is in need of sponsors to help them cover the costs of running a team and building the robot.

The FIRST robotics program, which the Granite City Gearheads compete in, has been around since 1989, with the long-term goal of making scientists and engineers just as respected as athletes and celebrities in our culture, and preparing students for growing world of technology. It is endorsed by major celebrities, such as will.i.am, and even supported by the U.S. Government (Winners of World Championships get to meet the President). FIRST includes three levels of competition, including the FRC or FTC(First Tech Challenge) for high school students, and the FLL (FIRST Lego League) for grades 4-8, and a non-competitive Jr. FIRST Lego League for ages 6-9. Overall, FIRST includes some 303,000 students, 56,500 mentors and 64,000 other volunteers.   

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