Robots battle at Austintown Middle School

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.The robot of one of the winning teams, Delphi E.L.I.T.E. from Warren, hoisted one of the yellow blocks onto their side of the scale on June 30 during the Austintown robotics tournament.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Three teams from the red alliance prepared to begin one of the rounds at the Austintown robotics tournament on June 30.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Robots controlled by members of both the red and blue alliance drove around the arena during one round of the Austintown robotics tournament June 30 at Austintown Middle School.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Team members from the RoboCats, from Girard, stood behind the glass looking into the arena preparing for the next round of the tournament on June 30.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Pictured are team members from the FalcoTech Austintown robotics team, Taylor Baer and Elise Yantes. Both girls are seniors at Austintown Fitch.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Members of the Sylvania STEM Center team carried their robot into the arena June 30 for the Austintown robotics tournament.

By JESSICA HARKER

jharker@vindy.com

On June 30 the Austintown Fitch Robotics Team, Falco Tech, hosted their fifth annual off season tournament.

The Girard High School team, The RoboCats, assisted in hosting the tournament which had 18 teams in attendence from both Ohio and parts of Pennsylvania.

Local schools attending included the Canfield and Warren teams, along with Girard and Austintown.

The event was free to attend, but participants were encouraged to bring a donation for a food drive offered during the competition. The drive benefitted the Second Harvest Food Bank.

The competition consisted of teams being broken into alliances, the red and the blue, with three teams in each alliance.

“We rank the teams based on their performance in the qualifications rounds. The top six teams at the event then are assigned as alliance captains,” explained Andy Yantes, the coach of the Austintown team.

Once the captains go through selection three times, each round picking a new team until each alliance has three teams total, the competition begins.

Each team’s robot, upon their turn, was placed into the arena and rounds lasted for two and a half minutes each.

The goal of the competition was to score the most points by moving the most blocks onto your alliance’s scales before time ran out, and at the end of the tournament the highest scoring teams won.

Because the tournament was an off season event, the selection of teams ran differently according to Yantes.

“At the offseason event everyone gets selected so everyone has a chance to compete longer in the day,” He said.

The winners of the competition this year were Delphi E.L.I.T.E. from Warren, CIA Creativity in Action from Erie, Pa. and WestyTek from Johnstown, Pa.

Concessions were also sold at the event, proceeds from which benefitted the Austintown robotics team.

AT&T was also present selling screen protectors during the competition, of which 20 percent of the sales went to the team as well.

During the regular season, each robotics team has about six weeks to design and build their robots according to Taylor Baer, a senior at Fitch who has been involved in robotics for six years.

“We have 13 people on the team, we have a pretty small team, we have a core team of about four kids who solely build the robot,” Baer said, “We also have a small design team, small mechanics team so ours is broken up.”

According to Baer the team works for four to five hours five days a week during their six week building period to create the robot that functions the way they want.

“It’s an amazing program for people to get involved in, we have so many teams in the Northeast Ohio area that its super great competition and you meet a lot of people.” Baer said.

Baer has been part of the FIRST robotics program at the Austintown school district since she was in sixth grade.

The program has been running for six years and is currently available for grades Kindergarten through 12th, according to Yantes.

“I met my best friend in the program, its just a fun way to get out and meet people and really do a cool thing with robots.” Baer said, “You also get a lot of team working skills because you have to work with a team all the time so its really great.”

The local schools take turns hosting the annual tournament according to Yantes, the next tournament will be hosted by Warren G. Harding.

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