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2nd Place Alliance2b

The Granite City Gearheads, the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition Team (#3244) for I.S.D. 742 competed in the Medtronic Foundation Regional competition this weekend. Sixty teams attended, mostly from Minnesota, but some came from as far as Florida and the Czech Republic.

This year's challenge was entitled FIRST POWER-UP, themed after classic 8-bit arcade games. Robots had to collect "power-up cubes" and stack them on scales and switches in order to maintain control for the longest time in order to score more points. At the end of a match, teams may climb the center scale to earn more points.

The Gearheads ranked 9th in the competition and advanced to the 8th seed position when two higher ranked teams joined together during alliance selection.

As a result of being the 8th seed, the Gearheads qualified to captain their own alliance. They selected the Firebears, Team 2846 (ranked 36) from Roseville, MN and Team 3038, I.C.E. from North Branch and Chisago Lakes (ranked 15) to serve as their alliance partners.

The resulting "fire and ice" alliance blazed their way through elimination matches, freezing the first place alliance in their tracks during quarterfinals and snow-plowed through the fourth-place alliance in semi-finals. They finally fizzled out in the finals round against the sixth-ranked alliance and earned second place. Because the sixth-ranked alliance had already qualified for the World Championship, wildcards went to the three teams in second, earning them a place in Detroit. Teams will need to raise approximately $15,000-$20,000 in order to afford the travel expenses.

The Gearheads also earned an Innovation in Control Award, which is sponsored by Rockwell Automation and celebrates high-quality and innovative work in robot control systems.

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is the most challenging robotics competition offered by it's parent non-profit organization, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Teams of high school students are given six weeks to build a robot weighing up 120 pounds, machining their own parts and designs to learn STEM skills that will provide them with future careers.

The World Championship will take place in Detroit on April 25-28th.There will be over 30,000 youth across all FIRST programs from more than 62 countries competing, comprising more than 1,400 teams.

The Gearheads always welcome visitors and potential new members, so if you would like to know more about FIRST programs, visit their website at http://granitecitygearheads.com or contact us!

You may have seen that we obtained a wait list lottery slot about a week before competition in the paper. It was too late to issue an update to the paper before print when we won our competition. A wild card is more noteworthy than the wait-list because it is an earned achievement.

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