SMS robotics students Dalton Gonzales, David Novotny, Tyler Wonderly, Spencer Bordonaro and Kincaid Smeltzer placed second in a tournament. photo provided
SMS robotics students Dalton Gonzales, David Novotny, Tyler Wonderly, Spencer Bordonaro and Kincaid Smeltzer placed second in a tournament. photo provided

The rookie seventh-grade Sisters Outlaw Robotics Team 8023 proved themselves again in last Saturday's First Tech Challenge (FTC) tournament held at Summit High School in Bend. The weekend tournament had 18 teams participating, all striving to qualify for the state and national finals (see related story page 7).

After their spectacular win in Hood River on January 11, where the Sisters Outlaw Robotics Team - in alliance with two other Oregon teams - placed first, the rookie Outlaws were more than ready to take on the "Block Party" challenge against a new field of players. With the total team in play - Spencer Bordonaro, Dalton Gonzales, David Novotny, Kincaid Smeltzer and Tyler Wonderly - the Outlaw Robotics maintained their successful performance strategy.

The competition tests robots' agility, maneuverability and ability to perform tasks.

The Sisters Outlaw Robotics Team in with RPA (Redmond Proficiency Academy) Quasar Alliance were able to both successfully hang off the bar without knocking each other off-timing.

Both teams demonstrated expert maneuvering.

After the first five qualification rounds, Outlaw Robotics found themselves leading the pack in first place. In the next level of eight qualifying teams, the first- through fourth-place teams have the opportunity to qualify for the state championship as the "captain team." Their chosen alliance team does not qualify.

For the semi-finals, best two of three games, Outlaw Robotics selected the team from Union High of Camas, Washington, as their alliance team. They won their first two games after a clock-watching countdown to perform all bar hanging, flag rising and block. The state qualifying final match was hanging between Outlaw Robotics and RPA Quasar Alliance, each as team captains.

After a win each, the final match was even more nerve-wracking and exciting. The coach for Sisters Outlaw Robotics, Jirka Novotny, watched both of his sons - Adam Novotny on Quasar Alliance and David Novotny on Outlaw Robotics - on opposing sides of the competition field.

The final victory was decided in the last two seconds as the Outlaws missed getting their arm on the bar for a successful hang. The RPA Quasar Alliance won the tournament and qualification to compete at the state championships.

Outlaw Robotics won second place and was awarded the "motivate" award as the team demonstrating the most motivation.

The team was thrilled to do so well and is grateful to their sponsors and donors, who have allowed them to purchase new parts. Their next strategy is to purchase an additional team-dedicated computer and program so that each member can become more efficient in programming and assist in developing their design and performance strategies.

For more information visit www.sistersrobotics.com.