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Mason Robotics Team a Top Winner at Regional Competition

masonroboticsGeorge Mason High School’s robotics team made the first-place alliance as a top winner at the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition Virginia Regional in Richmond last week.

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George Mason High’s robotics team “Vae Victus” stands proud after its first-place alliance win at last week’s 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition Virginia Regional in Richmond, Va. The team hopes to go on to compete at National Championship in Atlanta next month. (Photo: Arthur W. Pierson)

George Mason High School’s robotics team made the first-place alliance as a top winner at the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition Virginia Regional in Richmond last week.

Mason’s squad, Team 1418: Vae Victus, joined up with teams from Henrico, Va. and Montvale, N.J., and came out on top after a robotic soccer match, besting the 60 other schools through 95 qualifying matches and a series of playoff rounds.

“We are so proud of our team which has worked very hard, not only to build an extremely competent robot, but which also has been of great help to a number of other teams,” said robotics supporter and Falls Church City Public School Advisory Board member Cricket Moore.

The contest, held March 18 – 20 at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Stuart C. Siegel Center, brought together 63 teams from throughout Virginia and four other states to test their teamwork, alliance-building and engineering skills in a series of robotic competitions.

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(Photo: Arthur W. Pierson)

Moore called last weekend’s face-off a “cliffhanger,” going on to say, “We had some good rounds and some truly heartbreaking ones, with sensors not recording balls and the brake on the hanging mechanism not holding for the full ten seconds, but at the last minute, during the selection of teams for the finals, the first-ranked team asked our team to join them.”

She said team members heard later that the first-ranked team, which had won at the New Jersey Regional, had seen the GMHS team on the live NASA feed during the D.C. Regional and were watching for them when they got to Richmond.

Moore said the team hopes to be able to attend the National Championship in Atlanta, Ga. next month, but “not having thought that we could make it this far, we will really have to scramble to get there” in terms of raising money and ironing out any scheduling conflicts.

The GMHS team also received two Gracious Professionalism awards this season – one from Virginia Commonwealth University at the Virginia regional and another from FIRST at the Washington, D.C. regional. There, they led the second-place alliance, catapulting them to the state regional.

GMHS robotics team members include eighth graders Linda Lay and Adam Martin; Freshmen Callum Bartlett, Fernando Angulo, Christopher Cooper; sophomores Andrew Emmons, Andrew Finein, Christina Park, Vlad Utchin, David Sheffler and Worachet Sakprayoonpong; juniors Kaloyan Stankov, Elizabeth Womack, Matthew Duntz, Charles DeLeo and Chris Wakeley; and seniors Parameswar Chembukave, Matthew Rollo, Johanna Ballou and William Perkins. The team’s sponsor is John Ballou, a fine and performing arts teacher at GMHS.

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(Photos: Arthur W. Pierson)