Canby High Cougarbots snag four awards at recent competition

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Austin Adair makes adjustments to the team's robot while mentor, Mike Hershberger, left, and teammate Bryce Crispin look on.Canby High’s Cougarbots took a byte out of teams during a recent robotics competitions.

The First Technical Challenge robotics team at Canby High School competed in its first qualifying tournament at OMSI Jan. 12. The eight-person team of freshmen Austin Adair, Ryan Bigej, Bryce Crispin, Harrison Gingerich and sophomores Steven Morris, Madilynn Nissly, Ian Oakes and Ben Thompson has been working on designing, building and programming a robot to compete on a field with other robots, all while accomplishing various tasks.

Coached by volunteer Jennifer Gingerich and mentored by local engineers Randy Prakken and Mike Hershberger, the rookie team came away with four awards; the control award for its use of sensors and software to enhance the robot's functionality on the field; the connect award, which is given to the team that is most connected with its local community and the engineering community.

“Many of these students competed in the first Lego League robotics program,” Gingerich said. “ This is the next level up. This program is brand new to Canby High School. I wrote a grant to Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program to start a team in the fall. We hope the robotics program continues to expand with more CHS teams in the future, but this will require additional business sponsorship. The team currently has one sponsor, Pacific Integrated Handling.

We are always looking for more sponsors and mentors in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

During the elimination rounds, the Cougarbots were paired up with another team and won the final match, earning them the winning alliance award. Finally, the team earned second place for the inspire award, which is given to the team that best represents a "role model" FTC team by being a strong competitor on the field, acting with gracious professionalism on and off the playing field, communicating experiences, enthusiasm and knowledge to others, and working as a unit to achieve success.

About First Technical Challenge:

FTC is designed for students in grades 7-12 to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams.

The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles.

Awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world SUBMITTED PHOTO - After being chosen to be in the elimination rounds, the Cougarbots and a team from Central Catholic strategize about how to work together, playing both offense and defense, to win the final match. by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Cougarbots, mentors and coaches gathers around the robot and trophies after the tournament. They are: (far back) Randy Prakken, mentor, (from left) Ryan Bigej, Ian Oakes, Ben Thompson, Austin Adair, Bryce Crispin, Steven Morris, Jennifer Gingerich, Mike Hershberger, (kneeling front) Madilynn Nissly and Harrison Gingerich

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