FIRST Lego League teams from around Eastern Washington participated in the inaugural Eastern Washington State Championship Event in Ellensburg at Feb. 23. 

Youth ages 9-14 presented panels of judges with their work on the league’s core values, robot design and their senior solutions project during the morning and engaged in a three-round robot game tournament in the afternoon at Central Washington University.  

Among the 24 teams were local 4-H club and team A.I., which advanced to the championship event Feb. 23 from the Jan. 26 regional tournament. Team A.I., composed of 10 boys, was accompanied by coach Dale Larson and parent mentors John Anvik, Jennifer Davis, Jennifer Hackett and Darla Sautter. 

The students who participated are: Erik Anvik, John Anvik, Max Burnum, Logan Cook, Daniel Davis, Logan Goodrich, Philip Hackett, Matthew Sautter, Ryan Stinson and Taliesin Tenerelli.

In addition to the preparation the team completed for the regional tournament, it had to prepare a league core values poster and presentation and a robot design executive summary for the championship event. 

The team won in the mechanical design category at the regional event and placed strong in that category at the championship but not enough to repeat. The team’s showing in the mechanical design and innovation category were, however, strong enough to merit a judge’s award that was playfully dubbed the Medieval Maniacs award by the judging panel in recognition of the team’s “creative use of a catapult.” 

In the exciting and raucous afternoon robot games, team A.I. finished 15th in the field with a high score of 194 points. 

Larson said the group members had fun and learned they could work together to accomplish a goal.

“Their core values presentation celebrated both the opportunity to work as a team and to apply their school math to something outside the classroom,” he said.

The team will be making an appearance at the FRC Regional Event at Nicholson Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 23 to demonstrate its robot and invite others to explore the world of STEM activities with 4-H and FIRST, and are willing to visit your community group or classroom.

Learn more about FIRST robotics programs online at www.usfirst.org. Contact coach Larson at larsond@wsu.edu.

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