The West Linn High School robotics team proved it was one of the top teams in the world at the final competition of the season.
After a triumphant run of big wins and personal achievement, To Be Determined competed at the World Championship in Houston, Texas, on April 23. After early success in the competition, the team advanced to the finals and secured fourth place — the highest among all Oregon squads..
The group faced the top teams from across the world in Houston, some of which already had been competing for up to 20 years.
"We are a young team in the world of FIRST Robotics, but this year we made it farther than we could've ever expected and farther than any other Oregon team," said Leah Culbertson, the team business leader. "We beat out teams from across the world and are incredibly proud that we got to represent Oregon so well at this global competition."
The 2021-22 competition season was the first since the start of the pandemic. The team began building a new robot to face the 2022 First Robotics Competition season challenges as soon as members heard they would return to the field. According to Culbertson, the team finished the season somewhere in the middle of the pack of the 124 teams that made up the Pacific Northwest District division.
But everything changed during their first district event at Clackamas Academy, where 2B Determined took home the top prize. The win was a catalyst for the Lions' high-score streak throughout the competition season, ultimately leading to a ranking of 19th leading into the regional championships in early April.
During regionals, 2BDetermined's alliance was knocked out in the quarterfinal matches. However, because of earlier success in the season, the team was still ranked 10th in the Pacific Northwest region — just enough to secure a spot in the world championships.
During the world championship, the team was placed in the Newtown Division and continuously ranked highly throughout matches. The team placed fourth at the end of qualifiers and secured the fourth alliance captain position.
In the quarterfinals, the team knocked out the fifth alliance in a close 2-1 match.
"However, our most surprising achievement occurred when we faced Alliance 1 in the semifinals. Both matches were close, but our Alliance came out on top with a 2-0 win," Culbertson said.
The team ultimately lost during the finals and ended the competition in fourth place.
"Making it to the finals as such a young team was a huge accomplishment that we never could've expected," Culbertson said.
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