Local kids move on in FTC Robotics

Teams Akamai and Excelerate celebrate their recent win in the qualifying competition at The Dalles Middle School.


Teams Akamai and Excelerate celebrate their recent win in the qualifying competition at The Dalles Middle School.



Twenty-three teams of students in grades 7-12 from schools around the Gorge participated in the First Tech Challenge (FTC) Qualifying Tournament at The Dalles Middle School last Saturday, Jan. 31. After a long day of judging panels and head-to-head competition, eight of the Gorge teams advanced to the next level of competition with a place at the one of the Oregon Super-Qualifier Tournaments.

This event was hosted locally by the students of The Dalles High School FTC Teams, coached by Bev Froemming. Support was provided by the Gorge Tech Alliance and sponsorship from Google and Boeing. In this sports-style competition, teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments. The object of this year’s game, named Cascade Effect, is to win more points than an opponent by scoring160 large and small white plastic balls into two center goals or six rolling goals of various heights.

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This is what one trio of HRVHS robotics students had to say about their FTC qualifying experience:

“Every year there are new challenges and new problems to solve FTC robotics. This year’s competition was called ‘Cascade Effect.’

This past weekend, we had quite a bit of fun at The Dalles FTC qualifying competition. FTC (First Technology Challenge) is a competition where teams build and program robots to do different tasks. We learn so much and meet new and amazing people with great ideas. All the while, practicing Gracious Professionalism.

On Saturday, eight Hood River Valley High School FTC robotics teams drove to The Dalles for our preliminary qualifier competition. The teams includedA Occam’s Razor, Team Akamai, Excelerate, The Transformers, Bucket of Bolts, The Aztecs, Hex Tech, and Terabytes. Our teams consist of four to seven high schoolers from ages 14 to 18.

Seven of the eight teams advanced to State on Feb. 21-22.

The FTC competition is very challenging with many different components that we are judged on. One of those components is our engineering notebook, which follows us through our journey up until the day of the competition. It is full of our ideas, inspirations and knowledge of the FTC game. Another huge part of the FTC competition is the robot. It takes many hours of designing, measuring and building to create these masterpieces. Finally, in order to make our robot move we have to be able to create programs which allow the robot to move on its own and with a controller.”

— Erin Sutherland, Melissa Nardone, and Erik Siekkinen



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