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Carroll County robotics teams compete at home and away

Both inside and outside of the county, Carroll County robotics team had a busy first weekend on Saturday, Feb. 29 and Sunday, March 1.

The Robo-Lions, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 2199, traveled to Haymarket, Virginia to compete among a strong field of 38 teams, and two FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams made up of Carroll County Public Schools students were entered among 52 teams in the Maryland State Championship at the Carroll County Agriculture Center’s Shipley Arena in Westminster, drawing a large crowd of supporters and robotics fans, according to a CCPS news release.

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Ben Hroblak of Century High School, won the District Semi-Finalist for the Dean’s List Award at the state championship. This is the only individual recognition for FTC or FTC students. He qualified for the District Championship.

The South Carroll High School team, FTC Team 8479 RoboCavs Gold, was entered in the Collins Division while the Gear Freaks, FTC Team 4991 were in the Kahlert Division. The Gear Freaks are a community team with students from Liberty and Westminster High Schools and Oklahoma Road and Shiloh Middle Schools.

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The Gear Freaks ran into mechanical difficulties, and ended the day 20th out of 26 teams and did not make it into eliminations.

The RoboCavs were in a hard-fought Division Final, and though they did not win their division, they did win the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award, an overall trophy, for their robot design. This award nearly qualified the team for the World Championship, but they will not be going this year.

The Robo-Lions, meanwhile, went to their first District Qualifying Tournament in Haymarket, Virginia. The team made it to the semi-final rounds, playing some amazing matches. They then won the Entrepreneurship Award and put themselves in a solid position in the district (9th out of the 38 teams in the event, and so far that is their position among 125 teams vying for 80 slots at the District Championships). The Robo-Lions are a community team open to all high school and some middle school students. Members are currently from Liberty, Century, Westminster High Schools and North Carroll Middle School, as well as other public, private and homeschools.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international non-profit with a mission to “inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”

PIE3 (Partnership and Inspiration for Engineering Education and Entrepreneurship) is the local non-profit, a part of the Robo-Lions team and the community sponsor of many local FIRST Teams.

The Robo-Lions and RoboCavs recognize their partners, including the Kahlert Foundation, Maryland State Department of Education, Booz Allen Hamilton, Motorola, the Intuitive Foundation, Leidos, Bechtel, the Maryland Space Business Roundtable, Carroll Technology & Innovation Council, Carroll County Library and Carroll County Public Schools.

For information about FIRST see www.firstinspires.org, and for more about robotics in Carroll County see www.pie3.org or the Facebook page for PIE3 and the Robo-Lions.

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