Oroville Robotics Team CWU09 wins awards at CWU Competitive Robotics Tournament

The Oroville MS/HS Robotics Team returned home with awards for Engineering Excellence and Driver Skill.

ELLENSBURG – Congratulations are in order for the Oroville MS/HS Robotics Team who returned home with awards for Engineering Excellence and Driver Skill at Central Washington University’s Mechanical Engineering Technology Competitive Robotics Tournament, on Saturday, Feb. 24.

Thirteen teams participated at the tournament, eigh teams from Central plus teams from OHS and Manson High School. Competitive Robotics is a senior project for Mechanical Engineering Technology, (MET), students, and part of CWU’s MET curriculum.

In September, a game, Ring Stack, was presented. It challenged teams to design, engineer/build and program driver and autonomously controlled robots to pick up two inch rings then drive across a playing field and place the rings on specified upright and horizontal goal posts. Criteria for robot build was that the manipulator, (claw mechanism that picks up rings), had to be 3D printed. At the tournament, all matches were timed and high school teams were required to present their robot to a panel of judges who graded each team for robot design, innovation/originality, 3D printing, prototyping, project management, teamwork, special attributes and overall impression.

“Tournament play was exciting. After one round of Driver Skill, Oroville sat atop the leaderboard,” said Robotics Coach/Mentor Laara Peters-Kessler

A second round of Driver Skill and two rounds of Autonomous Skill led the way to elimination rounds. Oroville bested Manson’s top team in first-round eliminations and advanced to the quarter-finals. In the quarter-final round, Oroville outscored their college opponent earning their way to the semi-final round. In the end, CWU MET teams battled for the championship.

During the award ceremony, six trophies were presented. Team Oroville was honored to bring home two of them – Engineering Excellence and Driver Skill.

“It’s kind of a big deal,” said Coach Peters-Kessler. “Our team worked well together all season. Everyone brought something special to the table.”

The Oroville Coach said she’d be remiss in not highlighting the individual design and engineering talents of sophomore Elias DeFord, the programming skill of junior Mathias Hamilton, the project management/engineering skill of eighth-grader Jaxon Darley and the back-up/apprentice programming and engineering support of Joseph Cox and Johnny Hamilton, also from the eighth grade.

“(They’re) all quality students, a credit to our school and to their families. Special thanks to Central Washington University, CWU MET Professor Charles Pringle, and Game Design/Instructor/Mentor Willem Scholten, for offering this unique opportunity to our students,” said Peters-Kessler.

Oroville teams have received multiple awards over the years. Oroville Robotics Club is an after-school STEM enrichment program at Oroville High School hosted by OHS 21st Century Site Director/Mentor Dawn Miller. 21st Century is a federally funded program.