Sisters robotics competitors made a stellar showing in regional competition last weekend. photo provided
Sisters robotics competitors made a stellar showing in regional competition last weekend. photo provided

Sisters Robotics teams made an outstanding showing at Sunday's Central Oregon League Championship. Both of the Sisters-based teams advanced to the FTC Super Qualifier to be held in February at the Evergreen Space Museum in McMinnville.

Each team is competing under the guidance and requirements of FIRST "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology," a national organization whose mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders.

The Sisters Middle School team, Sisters Outlaws Robotics, has been working on their robot after last season's successful matches. The second challenge in the FTC league, which stands for "First Tech Challenge," was more difficult to build and program their robot than last year. This challenge required the robots to perform in three different modes in sequence: 1. The autonomous - program-driven (no driver) to drive down a slick ramp and knock down a kickstand that would release 160 balls; 2. Game mode to put the balls in goals (plastic beakers) of different heights 30, 60, and 90 centimeters; and 3. End game - push the goals back up the ramp, all under a two-minute timer. Each robot is individually designed and programmed by the participating teams, and the team members must decide what their game strategy is during the design process in order to score enough points during a competition.

Scott Brees, official organizer for the ORTOP (Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program) was thrilled to have 10 teams competing this year and is encouraged by the growing interest in Central Oregon. At Sunday's meet the Outlaws were selected to join the second-ranked SHS Brotherhood of Steel as an "alliance partner," and won second place overall thru their combined matched performances.

The big win for the Sisters Outlaws Robotic team was not just on the playing field; they won the Central Oregon Connect Award which also allows them to advance to the super qualifier. The Connect Award connects dots between the community and the business, engineering/tech/science world. The team of David Novotny, Spencer Bordonaro, Dalton Gonzales, Kincaid Smeltzer and Tyler Wonderly all participated in presentations to the Sisters Science Club and to students at the Sisters Middle School earlier in the season.

In addition to working on their team, David Novotny and Spencer Bordonaro also serve as mentors to a new rookie FLL sisters team. FLL is a younger league of Lego Robotics for children in fourth through eighth grades.

February is not that far off, but the team will use that time to work on their program and robot design. As there are expenses associated with each competition the team would appreciate any support. They also can provide demonstrations to your workplace or group. Contact www.sisters for more information or for help in forming a new robotics team.