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Wildwood Academy’s The Snackateers, coached by Emily Reed, celebrate their first place victory at The Dalles FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Tournament on Dec. 14, hosted by the Gorge Tech Alliance.

Twenty-seven teams of students ages 9 to 14 competed at the First Lego League (FLL) robotics tournament over the last two Saturdays: Dec. 7 at the Hood River Middle School and Dec. 14 at The Dalles Middle School.

Teams from as far as Heppner and Irrigon joined local teams from Hood River, The Dalles, Goldendale, Mosier, Odell, Klickitat, Trout Lake and Stevenson. The top 11 teams were chosen to advance to the state competition in January in Hillsboro.

FIRST LEGO League teams work over several months to design and program robots and complete a research project, this year on the theme of space.

At the Gorge tournaments, teams demonstrate their robot’s capabilities on the competition table, are interviewed by a robot design panel, present their research project and are assessed on teamwork skills.

The Gorge events are held by the Gorge Technology Alliance with support from Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program, North Wasco County School District 21 and Hood River County School District. Top local sponsors include Google and Insitu.

Organizers congratulate all the teams who competed and honored these top award winners from the two events:

Overall first place champions: RoBobs from Hood River; The Snackateers from Wildwood Academy.

Overall second place Champions: Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun! from Wy’east Middle; Gear Spinners from Goldendale Middle School.

These additional top teams advanced to the state tournament: 256 Block Limit from Hood River Middle; City Sisters from Wy’east Middle; Wizards of Laser Forks from Hood River Middle; Fire Breathing Ducks from Wasco County 4-H; Finer Things Club and Sunshine Shapers from Klickitat School; and Astro Boys from Wy’east Middle.

Additional top awards were given to a number of teams for their outstanding performances in specific areas of the competition:

Core Values Award: City Sisters from Wy’east Middle; Sunshine Shapers from Klickitat School.

Project Award: Wizards of Laser Forks from Hood River Middle; Fire Breathing Ducks from Wasco County 4-H.

Robot Design Award: 256 Block Limit from Hood River Middle; The A-Team from Klickitat School.

Robot Performance Award: S256 Block Limit from Hood River Middle; Astro Boys from Wy’east Middle.

Rising Star Award: Robotic Rats from Trout Lake School; Cookie Monsters from Wasco County 4-H.

For more information about youth robotics in the Gorge, visit Gorgerobotics.org or contact Jessica Metta with the GTA at 541-296-2266 or Jessica@crgta.org.

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