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TORC wins second Chairman's Award

Team 2137 – TORC Wins its second Chairman's Award in three years! (click for larger version)
April 02, 2014 - During their first competition of the season, Oxford High School's Robotics Team TORC, has already locked themselves in for a spot at the state competition on April 10-12 after winning the "Chairman's Award" at the Great Lakes Bay Region District, March 20-22.

The Chairman's Award, which is the most prestigious award at FIRST is given "to the team that best serves as a model for other teams to emulate and that embodies the goals of FIRST. It is presented to the team judged to have the most significant measurable impact among the partnerships of its participants, school, and community over a sustained period, not just a single build season or school year."

This is the second time in three years that TORC has won this award. The students answered ten short essay questions, wrote a 10,000-character paper, created a five-minute presentation, created a three-minute video, and interviewed with judges.

"I just think that it's really amazing how much TORC does beyond just competing in FIRST," said Chairman's Team Presenter and Mechanical Team member Evan Mince. "From getting people involved in engineering to sending Christmas care packages, TORC has helped so many people."

As far as the competition, at the end of qualification rounds, TORC was seeded Number One with 11-1 record. Although TORC didn't make the finals, overall, the team's robot performed very well.

TORC also performed well March 27-29 at Waterford Mott High School, where they once again held an 11-1 record during the qualification rounds, as well as captured for the highest score with one match being 336-0. After winning their last qualification match, TORC entered regular competition as the Number One seed.

TORC selected team 469 Las Guerrillas and Team 4998 Team Tesla as their alliance partners. The alliance won their quarter finals matches and moved on to the semifinals, where it lost.

While they may have been eliminated in the semifinals, TORC didn't come home empty-handed, as they were awarded the "Quality Award," sponsored by Motorola, which "celebrates machine robustness in concept and fabrication. The winning team demonstrates these characteristics in many ways from planning through execution. Building the robot is only part of their success and the judges recognize them as a quality example to others."

Additionally, TORC's Safety Captain, Victoria Funke has led the team closer to winning the Safety Award. Her presentation to judges, tracking of student certification on fabrication equipment, and her enthusiasm for robotics is being noticed. For the second week in a row, TORC took second place for the Safety Award.

"I am very proud of TORC's performance at the last two competitions. Our team has proven that we can make it to states with either the robot performance or with our Chairman's Award submission," said Funke. "I find it an amazing accomplishment to be the Number One seed at both competitions at the end of qualifications. We also were runner up at both competitions for the Safety Award. I can't wait to go to states with the achievements and lessons we've earned and learned at our past competitions."

TORC was also honored to have representatives from five of its sponsors present to cheer the team on, including Scott McBride of CEC Controls and Chris Reynolds and Susan Fox of Chrysler, all mentors for TORC were on hand to support TORC. In addition, Andy Lowe, Human Resource Manager, Valeo and Ed Buxton, Project Manager, Valeo spent a portion of a day with TORC as well. They also received representatives from a new sponsor this year, Kawasaki Robotics (USA), who attended the elimination rounds on Saturday. Yasuo and Junko Chihara – Kawasaki Robotics (USA) President and his wife, Samir Patel, director research and development and Scott Pinar, manager who all joined TORC in the stands to cheer for them.

"It means so much to the team when a sponsor joins the team at a competition. Their support and encouragement to students is priceless," said Mentor Kim Shumaker. "The students and mentors enjoy speaking with and cheering with the sponsors. The students are proud to have the sponsors see what they have accomplished."

Andrew Shumaker, of VoteonCars.com, also spent Friday evening and all day Saturday with the team. He surprised TORC with a flag that featured the team logo.

"I am continually amazed by the passion and knowledge of the TORC students. It's easy to understand why students that participate in FIRST are so successful," Andrew said. "Vote on Cars.com is proud to have a small part in helping prepare students for exciting future careers."

As of last week, TORC was ranked 16 out of 2729 teams in the world in calculated contribution to winning margin (CCWM). They also held the third place ranking for the autonomous scoring effectiveness worldwide. Currently, TORC is ranked 12th out of 278 teams in Michigan. They hold the highest individual qualification match score (336) and the highest number of total qualification match wins (22) in Michigan.

The team will travel to the state competition held at Eastern Michigan University on April 10-12.

To learn more about the team visit www.torc2137.com or find them on Facebook.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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