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Two of Molalla's high school robotics teams will compete at state in Salem this weekend

COURTESY PHOTO - Team Thanos members compete with their robot at the last competition leading up to state.

After a somewhat short season, two of Molalla's robotics teams are heading to state at Chemeketa Community College in Salem on Friday and Saturday, March 8-9.

Molalla has three teams this year under coach Zeb Schweickert, only two of which competed at tournaments.

COURTESY PHOTO - Team OFUDOR and Team Thanos are pictured with their robots. From left to right, the students are Justin Lowder, Donald Hammock, Rodney Gray and Dennis Satter.

COURTESY PHOTO - Rodney Gray sports his unique look for the tournament.The two teams are "Team Thanos" made up of Rodney Gray and Dennis Satter, and "OFUDOR" with team members Donald Hammock and Justin Lowder.

Team parent Jeff Hammock noted that the name "OFUDOR" was a happy, or perhaps unhappy, fluke.

"It turns out it was something that [Donald] could see that had been erased off the chalkboard when somebody said, 'What's your team name?'" Hammock said. "And he looked up, and he said, 'Oh, OFUDOR.'"

The young Hammock didn't find out until later that OFUDOR was actually "PFUDOR," an acronym for "Pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows."

The uniquely named teams had limited practice this season, hitting just two competitions leading up to the state tournament. Still, both managed to do well at the last tournament in February.

"It did go well in the last tournament," said Hammock. "One of the teams went to the finals, and the other team was knocked out in the semi-finals. Both teams lost to the eventual winner, which was Sandy."

The teams finished in fourth and eighth.

Both teams will be competing in the gold division at state, which unfortunately does not contend to continue onto worlds as the platinum division does.

The VEX Robotics state finale happens at Chemeketa's building 7 gym, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday. The public is welcome to attend.

Kristen Wohlers
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