FIRST Tech Challenge Team Hercules advances to state

Staff report

FIRST Tech Challenge Team Hercules has qualified for the Ohio State Championships, which will be held Feb. 13 in Cincinnati. Team Hercules is a local junior high robotics team which teaches STEM to students through competitive robot building.

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

FIRST Tech Challenge teams are tasked to design, build, program, and operate robots to play a floor game in an alliance format. The 2016 game, FIRST RES-Q, is modeled after rescue situations faced by mountain explorers all over the globe. Each match consists of two alliances of two robots each. Objectives in the game include scooping up balls and blocks, hanging, and climbing. These tasks require extensive programming, CAD, and machining.

Team Hercules competed in Van Wert on Jan. 30, finishing in second place. They also placed second for their engineering notebook and earned their spot at the state event by ranking high in scoring power. Mentor Randy Allen said, “We did very well on Saturday, especially since we were up against teams with all high school students. These junior high students have worked hard.”

And the team is still hard at work, preparing for the state championship event. Team member Austin said, “We have a lot to do; we’re improving our driving and programming.”

Team Hercules is open to junior high students from any school in the area. FTC Team Hercules is part of the local award-winning FIRST Robotics Competition team, Stellar Robotics, which is open to all high school students in the area.

Staff report