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Viewfinder: Bloomfield Area Students Compete at Robotics Tourney

Oakland County Schools robotics tournament season kicks off with competition among 18 schools.

The Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association kicked-off the tournament season with an event that drew 18 teams to Saturday. The hosts captured the Beautiful Bot award and teams from Brother Rice and Marian high schools took the spirit award.

“During the first tournament of the season, students with robots get a feel for what to expect," said Mike McIntyre, science teacher and science support leader for Oakland Schools. "By the time the county championships roll around in November, the bugs are out and the machines are perfected. Competition really gets tough then."

McIntyre is one of the coordinators for the program, along with project coordinator Terri Kroll. 

“We wanted Oakland County to have its own competition in order to compete all year,” Kroll said.

The students are responsible for building their team robots from scratch, except for the smaller VEX robots that come in kits.

Royal Oak High School senior Matthew Jones, 17, is excited about his team's project and the competitions this year. “We’ve worked on our robot every day since the beginning of the school year, for a minimum of one hour – usually more like two or three," Jones said. "It’s an awesome opportunity to build and compete.”

The schools compete in a game of Tic-Tac-Stack. Each robot uses arms to lift balls from the playing field and drop them into a tiered stack. The ball that ends up on top is the winner.

Here are some other specifics:

  • Four schools participate in each round. 
  • Each round, teams are composed of two schools, chosen at random.
  • Each school is guaranteed at least four opportunities to play throughout the competition. 
  • The teams with the highest scores are overall winners. 

Saturday's awards

First place: Notre Dame Prep, which also won the VEX Award

Second place: Pontiac High School, which also won the Quality Award

Third placeRochester Adams and Stoney Creek high schools (combined team), which also won the Strategic Design Award

Beautiful Bot Award:  Royal Oak High School

Spirit Award: Marian and Brother Rice high schools

Technical Award: South Lyon High School

Inches Award: Holly High School

Best Defense: Brandon High School

The Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association website will list winners in each category and information on future robotics competitions. The next OCCRA competition takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Roeper Community Center on the lower school campus of Roeper School.

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