Students Showcase Custom-Built Robots at Annual Robotics Championship

This week, more than 18,000 students from around the globe traveled to St. Louis, Mo., put their engineering skills to the test at the annual FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship, held at various venues throughout the city.

The four-day FIRST® Championship event came down to a heart-pounding conclusion in front of a roaring crowd of more than 40,000 when four teams from League City, Texas, and Davis, Clovis, and Palmdale, California of the Newton Subdivision won the coveted FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) Championship Winning Alliance. (Photo: Business Wire)


The four-day event came down to a heart-pounding conclusion Saturday night in front of a roaring crowd of more than 40,000 when four teams from League City, Texas, and Davis, Clovis, and Palmdale, California of the Newton Subdivision won the coveted FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) Championship Winning Alliance. In this year’s recycling-themed game, RECYCLE RUSHSM, FRC teams took to the field, where competing Alliances scored points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping those stacks with recycling containers, and properly disposing of pool noodles, representing litter. In keeping with the recycling theme of the game, all game pieces used are reusable or recyclable by teams in their home locations or by FIRST at the end of the season.

In all, over 18,000 students, ages 6 to 18, participated in the Championship events in St. Louis.

Selected Quotes:

  • FIRST Founder Dean Kaman urged students to inspire the world and to use what they’ve learned from their FIRST Mentors and Coaches as a tool: “Don’t leverage your experience here as a privilege but rather a responsibility,” he said. “We expect you to go off to college and give; go off to industry and give. Figure out how to reach people who are not already your friends or your neighbors. Get a little out of your comfort zone and help us bring a more diverse community to FIRST.”
  • “What you kids in all FIRST programs are able to achieve in a short a period of time is truly astounding. I am overwhelmed by the amount of teamwork you display and the results you deliver,” said FIRST President Donald E. Bossi.
  • “I had incredible teachers who showed me the magic of science and technology by letting me do it myself. That’s what FIRST is all about,” said Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

Among the participants, many U.S. and international FIRST student robotics teams earned honors for design excellence, competitive play, research, business plans, website design, teamwork, and partnerships. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST inspires young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

In St. Louis, more than 900 teams from 40 countries competed in the four FIRST programs: FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®, grades 4 to 8, 9 to 14-year-olds in the U.S, Canada, and Mexico; 9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico); FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®, grades 7 to 12, 12 to 18-year-olds); and FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®, grades 9 to 12, ages 14 to 18). In addition to the high-energy robotics matches, 60 teams of 6 to 9-year-olds participated in the Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®, grades K-3), World Festival Expo.

The Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial Scholarships were given to:

  • Tyler Brinton, FRC Team 195, Cyber Knights, Plantsville, Conn.
  • Sheridan Rea, FRC Team 1388, Eagle Robotics, Grover Beach, Calif.
  • Noah Shields, FRC Team 1676, Pascack Pi-oneers, Ringwood, N.J.
  • Mayuri Viswanathan, FRC Team 2383, Ninjineers, Cooper City, Fla.

The FIRST Championship honored significant supporters of the FIRST mission:

  • John E. Abele, Vice Chair of FIRST and Founding Chairman, Retired, Boston Scientific Corporation was the recipient of the Founder’s Award, presented each year by FIRST founder Dean Kamen to one organization or individual for exceptional service in advancing the ideals and mission of FIRST.
  • Mark Lawrence, Retired Executive, CISCO; Mentor, Team 1816, The Green Machine, Edina, Minn. was the recipient of the Woodie Flowers Award, founded by Dr. William P. Murphy Jr. to recognize an outstanding engineer or teacher who best demonstrates teaching excellence in teaching science, math and creative design.
  • Richard Dale “Rick” Snyder, and current Governor of Michigan, was the recipient of the Make It Loud Award, given to the person who has contributed the most in increasing the awareness of FIRST to the general public.

2015 FIRST Championship Winners

The 2015 winners of the competitions are as follows:

  • Winners of the Dean’s List Award included:

From FIRST Robotics Competition:

  • Emilie Dufour, Team 3990, Tech for Kids, Montreal, Quebec, CAN;
  • David Earle, Team 830, The Rat Pack, Ann Arbor, Mich.;
  • Cynthia Erenas, Team 4964, LA Streetbots, Los Angeles, Calif.;
  • Alyssa Garcia, Team 1684, The Chimeras, Lapeer, Mich.;
  • Camilo Gonzalez, Team 125, Nutrons, Boston, Mass.;
  • Logan Hickox, Team 4118, Roaring Riptide, Gainesville, Fla.;
  • Alexandra Miller, Team 1629, Garrot Coalition, McHenry, Md.;
  • Sebastian Orellana, Team 4013, Clockwork Mania, Orlando, Fla.;
  • Ben Rowley, Team 1912, Team 1912 Combustion, Slidell, La.;
  • Michael Uttmark, Team 2980, The Whidbey Island Wild Cats, Oak Harbor, Wash.

From FIRST Tech Challenge:

  • James Chin, Team 310, Stuy Fission, New York, N.Y.;
  • Stephen Eckert, Team 5466, Combustible Lemons, Davenport, Ia.;
  • Sarah Fogwell, Team 4856, Minnie MASH, West Vincent, Pa.;
  • Serena Grown-Haeberli, Team 7593, TigerBots, Belmont, Calif.;
  • Laura Irvine, Team 8438, Quantum Leap, Stillwater, Minn.;
  • Hannah Liao, Team 4250, LIGHTSABERS, Oklahoma City, Okla.;
  • Mashroor Rashid, Team 2408, Shrapnel Sergeants, Hazelwood, Mo.;
  • Cameron Richards, Team 6987, Hat Trix, Granville, Ohio;
  • Katherine Thomas, Team 7172, Technical Difficulties, Plano, Texas;
  • Austin Wang, Team 5206, The Knights of Ni, Stanford, Calif.

1. FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) Championship – FRC combines sports excitement with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams are challenged to fundraise, design a brand, exercise teamwork, and build and program robots to perform tasks against competitors.

  • The Winning Alliance of the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship was Team 118, Robonauts, League City, Texas; Team 1678, Citrus Circuits, Davis, Calif.; Team 1671, Buchanan Bird Brains, Clovis, Calif.; and Team 5012, Gryffingear, Palmdale, Calif. of the Newton Subdivision.
  • Team 597, Wolverines, Los Angeles, Calif, won the Chairman’s Award, the highest honor given at the FRC Championship, recognizing the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.

Other FRC Awards included:

  • Engineering Inspiration Award
    • Archimedes-Tesla Division: Team 3132 Thunder Down Under, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    • Curie-Carver Division: Team 771 SWAT, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
    • Galileo-Carson Division: Team 3478, Lambot, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
    • Newton-Hopper Division: Team 195 Cyber Knights , Southington, Conn.
  • Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award
    Paul George, FIRST Field Tech Advisor, Field Supervisor Trainer, Field Tech Advisor Assistant Trainer; Retired Controls Engineer, Proctor & Gamble

Championship Finalists

Hopper Subdivision

  • Team 987, HIGHROLLERS, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Team 2826, Wave Robotics, Oshkosh, Wis.
  • Team 4265, Secret City Wildbots, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
  • Team 2512, Duluth East Daredevils, Duluth, Minn.

2. FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) World Championship – FTC students learn to think like engineers. Teams build robots from a reusable kit of parts, develop strategies, document their progress, and compete head to head. The object of this year’s game, named CASCADE EFFECTSM, is to score more points than an opponent by placing balls into rolling goals and then moving goals into scoring areas. Points can also be awarded when balls are shot into a center goal.

Approximately 44,500 students on 4,450+ FIRST Tech Challenge teams competed during the 2014/2015 FTC season. The 2014/15 FIRST Tech Challenge Sponsors include Official Program Sponsor for the FIRST Tech Challenge, Rockwell Collins, and FTC CAD and Collaboration Sponsor, PTC.

The FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship Inspire Award, recognizing excellence in robot design and teamwork, went to Team 3595, Schrödinger’s Hat, Fairbanks, Alaska. The Winning Alliance was Team 6433, Neutrinos, Lakeland, Fla.; Team 7245, RedNek Robotics, Sun River, Mont.; Team 2844, ValleyX Robotics, Chandler, Ariz., of the Franklin Division.

The FTC Volunteer of the Year Award winner was Dale Jordon of Oregon. The Compass Award for excellence in coaching/mentoring was awarded to Coach Warren Morris, Team 6510, CyberSharks, Palacios, Texas.

3. FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) World Festival – FLL introduces younger children to real-world engineering challenges by conducting research projects and building LEGO-based autonomous robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations, discover exciting career possibilities and learn to make positive contributions to society. This year’s challenge, FLL WORLD CLASSSM, engaged 267,000+ kids on nearly 27,000 teams to redesign how we gather knowledge and skills in the 21st century.

Top honors went to Champion’s Award 1st Place winner, Team 23850, Fast & Curious, Aley, Lebanon; Champion’s Award Finalist, Team 23750, Mechatronic Ants, Pamplona, Spain; and Champion’s Award Finalist, Team 2936, HIPPIES (Humans in Peaceful Pursuit of Intellectual Engineering Skills), Peoria, Ill.

FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award Finalists

  • Team 4678, Braille Boys & Annie, Cumming, Georgia, Insta-Braille
  • Team 12758, LEGO Lions, Austin, Texas, Haptic AppPlatform for Visually Impaired
  • Team 100, Team Storm, Terre Haute, Ind., ROY G. BIV Math System

4. Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) World Festival Expo – Jr.FLL introduces children ages 6 to 9 to the exciting worlds of science and technology. Teams of up to six children and one adult Coach take on a real-world Challenge, to be explored through research, critical thinking, and imagination.

In this year’s Jr.FLL Challenge, Jr.FLL THINK TANKSM, teams took a closer look at where and how learning happens every day. Teams learn how science, technology, engineering, and math impact our everyday lives while they get excited about future innovations.

2015 FIRST Championship Sponsors

Qualcomm is the 2015 FIRST Championship Presenting Sponsor.

2015 FIRST Championship Program Sponsors include: Energizer Holdings, Inc.; FedEx Corporation; Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD); Google; Monsanto; NRG Energy; U.S. Air Force; United Technologies Corporation (UTC).

Other 2015 FIRST Championship Sponsors include: Abbott Fund; Bechtel Corporation; The Boeing Company; BOSCH; The Coca-Cola Company; Comcast NBCUniversal; The Dow Chemical Company; Dr. William H. Danforth; Edward Jones Foundation; I Am Jane; INCOSE; Microsoft Corporation; Mouser Electronics; Nidec Motor Corporation; NVIDIA; Rockwell Automation; Scottrade, Inc.; Southwest Airlines; SpaceX; St. Louis Regional Chamber; Trio Foundation of St. Louis; UL; Vulcan Spring & Manufacturing Co.; Wells Fargo Advisors.

Save the date! The FIRST Championship will be held in:

St. Louis April 27-30, 2016 | Houston April 19-22, 2017 and St. Louis April 26-29, 2017 | Houston April 18-21, 2018 and Detroit April 25-28, 2018


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