Image that reads Center for Educational Technologies. This image links to the Center for Educational Technologies home page.
Morgantown Teams Sweep Top Spots at Robotics Championship

Wed Dec 17 2008

A pair of Morgantown teams finished 1-2 in the annual West Virginia FIRST LEGO League robotics tournament, breaking the three-year winning streak of another Morgantown team.

The tournament, which was funded through a grant from the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, was held Dec. 13 at the Center for Educational Technologies®. About 200 youngsters ages 9-14 on 24 teams took part in the competition. Dr. Meri Cummings, science resource teacher at the center, served as tournament director for the fourth year in a row.

Taking first place were the Trinity Robo Warriors coached by MaryAnn Post of Trinity Christian School. Their state championship earned them an invitation to April's FIRST LEGO League World Festival in Atlanta. Team members are Julian Bailes, Zack Kaehler, Eric Post, and Oliver Weigand.

Runners-up were the Virtual Vikings of Cheat Lake Schools coached by Cathyand Brian Woerner. They are eligible to participate in FLL U.S. Open Championship in Dayton in May. The previous three years the championship had been won by the Roboteers team from the Morgantown Learning Academy. The Roboteers did win first place in the table performance and robot design categories this year.

The theme of this year's competition was Climate Connections. Student teams programmed their LEGO robots to perform a variety of climate-related missions, such as constructing levees and extracting ice core samples. In addition, students delivered research and technical presentations to judges, and the students were observed for teamwork and problem-solving skills as they performed a "mystery" hands-on activity.

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was created to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST LEGO League started in 1988 with a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Company. More than 48,000 children participate in the program.

Here are the winners of the other categories:

Robot Design: 1. Roboteers, Morgantown Learning Academy, Morgantown. 2. Techno Peeps, Mannington 4-H Club.

Research Presentation: 1. Career Center Critters C3, Mingo Career and Technical Center, Delbarton. 2. Blackhole Mechanics, Bridgeport Middle School, Bridgeport.

Teamwork: 1. Suncrest #1, Suncrest Middle School, Morgantown. 2. FROGS, Kermit K-8 Schools, Kermit.

Robot Performance at Table: 1. Roboteers, Morgantown Learning Academy, Morgantown. 2. Virtual Vikings, Cheat Lake Schools, Morgantown.

Coach/Mentor Award: Janet Brock, coach of the Westwood Brick Bashers, Westwood Middle School, Morgantown.

FIRST LEGO League Values Award: Smarticle Robo Builders, coach Frances Hollinger, a Morgantown community team.

Judges Award: J-Ro, Jackson Middle School, Vienna, for a unique ball-capturing robot arm design.

American Electric Power, LEGO Education, Wheeling Jesuit University, and the Center for Educational Technologies also helped fund the event.

A number of volunteers from the university community joined Cummings in making the tournament a success for the 24 teams from throughout the Mountain State, including Mary Ellen Cassidy, Jim Coffield, Christine Faulkner, Dave Henderson, Connie Hoge, Lisa McFarland, Jeff Mitchell, Doug Moore, Sharon Morgan, Jane Neuenschwander, Debbie Reese, Laurie Ruberg, Chris Scott, Chuck Wood, John Yelenic, Janis Worklan, and Letha Zook

Plenty of other volunteers helped in the tournament's success:

  • Head referee: David Brooks, Kraton Corporation
  • Master scorekeeper: Jimmy Smith, West Virginia University
  • FIRST representatives: Jessica Jankowitsch and Clinton Clegg
  • NASA Space Grant Consortium: Michele Wengryn
  • NASA IV and V Educator Resource Center: Todd Ensign
  • West Virginia University: Mike Brooks, Scott Fike, Earl Scime, Luke Scime, Alex Stout, Haley Tucker, Phillip Tucker, and Ryan Utzman
  • Carnegie Mellon University-National Robotics Engineering Center: Tim Freiz, Norm Kerman, and Robin Shoop
  • Fairmont State University: Tim Burkhart, Nicolas Burkhart, Anthony Sinisi, Gene Turchin, and Chelsea Wheeler
  • Community Volunteers: Bob and Hannah Boord, Loretta Bourn-Oliver, Jay Capron, David Fike, Janet Fike, Kelly Reasbeck, Hannah Riel, Jonathan Samaroo, and Linda Vidoni
  • Community Youth Volunteers: Brittany Boord, David Faulkner, Stephanie Fike, Zach Hamm, Carly Jordan, Kathleen Ott, Caitlin Reasbeck, Billy Salvatori, Jasmine Shah, and Casey Wilson
  • WJU Student Volunteers: Bethani Barsch, Stephanie Elias, Caroline Horacek, and Susie Wright

Also important were WJU housekeeping, maintenance, and security departments and Parkhurst Dining Services for the many services provided before, during, and after the tournament.

A special thanks to the RoboRats FRC Team 1249 and FTC Team and Career Center Critters for demonstrating and sharing their robots, tables, and models. Your contributions were a major reason for our success!

Wheeling Jesuit University sponsored two robotics teams. The Organized Chaos Girl Scout (Black Diamond Council Troop 4920) robotics team is coached by Cummings, and members are Madison Benner, Stephanie Fike, Kathleen Ott, Caitlin Reasbeck (team high points earner), and Jasmine Shah. The RoBoRaiders are coached by Dr. Peter Ehni, WJU physics professor, and team members are Josh Brown, Jared Ehni, Robby Fish, and Isaac Warner.

Here is the scoring for each round.

WV Team
Number
Scores
Rank
Round
1
Round
2
Round
3


High
Score

24
150
160
104
160
1
11
90
155
95
155
2
9
45
150
125
150
3
21
140
116
85
140
4
18
70
95
135
135
5
20
112
101
130
130
6
23
107
101
122
122
7
16
115
120
112
120
8
14
106
95
120
120
9
3
65
120
95
120
10
22
115
100
105
115
11
17
60
100
115
115
12
12
39
100
115
115
13
4
100
105
70
105
14
19
102
76
80
102
15
7
95
100
70
100
16
5
55
80
100
100
17
15
96
56
86
96
18
8
55
75
90
90
19
1
75
35
85
85
20
13
55
45
65
65
21
2
60
30
45
60
22
10
40
55
55
55
23
6
40
30
50
50
24


Overall rank determined by maximum score in 3 rounds.
Tied ranks determined by average score of 3 rounds.