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WARREN Robotics team makes playoffs



Published: Thu, April 17, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Girard team also competed at the Houston contest.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Months of work garnered a playoff berth for 28 members of the Warren G. Harding High School's Delphi ELITE robotics team over the weekend.

"Basically, we were three rounds away from the national championship," said Christopher Neifer, the team's coach.

The team competed over the weekend with nearly 300 teams from across the country, Canada and Brazil at the FIRST Robotics Championship. This year's FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, championship was in Houston.

All of the teams were divided into four divisions, and Delphi ELITE, which includes Harding students, their teachers and engineers from Delphi Packard Electric Systems, was ranked seventh in the division.

Eight teams from each division, or those that were seeded, went into the playoff. The Warren team got knocked off before the national championship bout.

"The kids were very pleased," Neifer said.

The team from Girard High School also made it to the competition but didn't reach the playoffs. The teams had to win either a regional competition or a major award in a regional competition to compete in the championship contest.

This year's game, called Stack Attack, involved teams with one robot each, collecting and stacking storage containers. The contest included a period during which robots had to function without driver control for 15 seconds.

This marks the sixth year the Harding team has been competing.

"The kids did great and the robot functioned properly," Neifer said. "There were no major repairs. It was a good competition."

Twenty-eight members of the 40-member Delphi ELITE team made the trip to the Houston competition. They traveled by bus and because they had such a long ride ahead, they got back on board immediately after the competition ended Saturday afternoon. They arrived home about 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Delphi ELITE team competed in contests in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Canada last month. They qualified for the national competition at the Pittsburgh event by earning the Motorola Quality Award and a judges award.

Recognition

The Motorola Quality Award recognizes "machine robustness in concept and fabrication," according to the competition manual. They received the judges award because of the assistance provided to the Pittsburgh Regional staff at the contest, according to a news release from Delphi Packard Electric Systems.

At the competition in Canada, the team won the GM Industrial Design Award that recognizes "the form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively achieves the game challenge," the manual states.

The FIRST competition was created to foster an appreciation of science in students, their schools and communities, according to the organization's Web site.




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