Sports

GMHS Robotics Wins District Competition

The George Mason High School robotics team with their competition-winning robot. (Courtesy Photo)
The George Mason High School robotics team with their competition-winning robot. (Courtesy Photo)

The George Mason High School robotics team won the FIRST Tech Qualifying Tournament in Haymarket on Saturday, Dec. 12.

The team’s win earned a spot in the state competition in February, which will be held at Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Va. The team also won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award for the best design.

The Mason team scored first in each of the qualifying, semifinal and final rounds.

Approximately 40 teams participated in the competition at Battlefield High School. Each team built its own robot and developed the computer program to run it.

The task with the highest point value for the robots was to climb a sharp incline labeled “The Mountain.” Extra points were available for dangling from a bar atop the Mountain. Teams also scored points by pushing plastic debris out of the path of the robot.

After successfully climbing the incline, the Mason robot used a large commercial tape measure fitted with a hook on the end to reach and hang from the top bar.

Mason has sponsored robotics teams since 2004 under the tutelage of teacher John Ballou, who also began teaching a robotics course for credit at the school this year.
“This is was an exciting win for the team,” Ballou said.

“They worked very hard to analyze the challenge and develop a machine to meet it. It was great to see them be so successful.”