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Kingswood's Robotics team goes on National Championship

The Little Robot That Could

by Tim Croes
Staff Writer - The Baysider

THE TEAM FROM KINGSWOOD was given a "Rookie All-Star" award for their effort at the District Championship. Pictured here are (l-r): back row, Mentor Josh Keaton, Mentor Jeff Roberts, Chris Hempel and Mentor Jim Ladd; middle row, Greg Bush, Frank McGee, Shane Turilli and Eli Stevens; and front row, Andrew McCall, Pat Perry and Ty Roberts (Tim Croes photo) (click for larger version)
April 17, 2014
BOSTON, Mass. — The Kingswood Regional High School robotics team; The Resistance, also known as Team 4925, traveled to Boston University's Agganis Arena and they didn't win any of their 12 matches in three three-day District Championship U.S. FIRST Robotics competition.

But they were given a "Rookie All-Star" award, which gives them an automatic bid to the National Championship in St. Louis, Mo., on April 23, 24, 45 and 26.

Traveling and fundraising the money for the trip will be a challenge. The team had until Tuesday, April 15, to make a final decision. The registration fee alone is $5,000 and the then there is travel, transporting the robot, which they built from scratch back in January and February of this year, and hotel and travel expenses for four days.

Josh Keaton, one of the coaches of the team, confirmed via telephone on Tuesday, that the team would indeed be traveling to St. Louis to compete with teams from around the globe.

For a first-year team, it will be amazing experience to go up against teams from around the world, and it will definitely be a learning experience.

This year's challenge for the U.S. FIRST competition is called Airial Assist, and it requires each team to design and build a robot that can catch, pass and shoot a Yoga ball in between teammates and eventually into a goal to score points.

In each two-minute battle round, the team, made up of robots from three different schools, with the highest score gets a win and other is given a loss. Bonus points are acquired throughout the match for assists to teammates and for passing it over a truss in the middle of the battle arena.

The Resistance was built as a facilitator and can only pass to teammates and doesn't have the ability to shoot the ball into goals in the air.

There were several times that the robot from Kingswood came close to getting a victory, but they ended up with an 0-12 record over the three-day competition at Boston University. They earned a spot in the District Championship after being award the "Rookie All-Star" award and "Highest Seeded Rookie" award at the competition in Lewiston, Maine, last weekend.

Team 4925 could be called the little robot that could. While in Maine, the robot was down and wasn't operational, but another local team at the competition, "Big Bad Bob" also known as Team 319 from Prospect Mountain High School, jumped in and helped them create a new set of wheels so they could compete.

The team from Kingswood surprised nearly the whole field and ended up being ranked fifth and actually ended up losing to the team from PMHS in the quarterfinals in Lewiston. This story really brings in a word that has been created by U.S. FIRST called "co-operpertition," where teams are working together to help each other along the way.

The team has to bag up their robot and ship it out to St. Louis in the next couple of days, and they will be traveling out to Missouri late next week to take part in the National Championship.

Any donations that could help the team get there would be appreciated and anyone interested in donating can contact Josh Keaton at the Kingswood Regional High School.

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