May 07, 2014 - Oxford High School's Robotics Team TORC has competed in five FIRST Robotics World Championships since they were founded in 2007.
Members of Oxford's Robotic's Team TORC got to talk with Governor Rick Snyder at the Michigan State Championships. Photo submitted. (click for larger version)
With 5,000 high school teams worldwide, TORC was one of 400 teams to compete in the most recent world championship competition, held April 22 -27 in St. Louis Missouri. Out of the 400 teams, TORC finished in the top 16.
"We competed on the Archimedes field, one of the four fields that qualification matches are held on over the course of three days," explained TORC Mentor Kim Shumaker.
On the Archimedes field, TORC held a record of 8 and 2, which was considered a great accomplishment and TORC finished as the number four seed, earning the spot as the number four alliance captain. Eight alliance captain positions were available and they each selected three teams to join them as they competed in the elimination rounds that would eventually lead to the finals on the Einstein field.
TORC selected team 2067 Apple Pi Robotics from Connecticut, team 2959 Robotarians from Michigan, and team 548 Robostangs from Michigan as their alliance partners. As the quarter-finals began, the number four alliance led by TORC faced the number five alliance led by team 2590 Nemesis of New Jersey. Nemesis was joined by team 1477 Texas Torque from Texas and team 1625 Winnovation from Illinois.
The number five alliance led by Team 2590 Nemesis turned out to be TORC's "nemesis", defeating TORC and its alliance in the quarter-finals in match one 296 to 222 and in match two 232 to 231. However, at the end of match two, the score was tied. Because matches cannot end in a tie in eliminations, there are tie breaker rules. The first of which involves cleanest play. Both TORC's alliance and its opponents alliance had been assessed a penalty during match two but TORC's penalty was higher in value. Therefore, TORC's opponent was awarded one point to break the tie.
As has been the tradition all year long, the alliance that defeated TORC went on to become the champions of the field.
While the Nemesis alliance also defeated two other Michigan teams in the semi-finals and two more Michigan teams in the finals, no other alliance lost to the Nemesis alliance by as slim a margin (one-point) as the TORC alliance.
"I can't wait for the day that we're the ones that move on and we win," noted Shumaker.
TORC would not have been able to celebrate their success in St. Louis, if they hadn't proven themselves first at the State Championship held April 10-12 at the Eastern Michigan Convocation Center.
After qualification rounds, TORC was the number 11 seed with a 8-4 record. In the quarter finals they were won two more matches to advance to the semi-finals, where they lost 250-161.
While they may have lost in semi-finals they did not walk away empty handed. They won their first ever Team Spirit Award sponsored by Chrysler. This award "celebrates extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit through exceptional partnership and teamwork furthering the objectives of FIRST."
" We are pleased to note that we have now been awarded nine out of the fifteen team awards and another one of three team awards soley available to rookie teams," Shumaker said. "This demonstrates that our efforts to become a well rounded team have been successful but not to the detriment of our robot's performance."
Additionally, Governor Rick Snyder attended the Michigan State Championship and visited the TORC pit and spoke with TORC about its robot and team.
"TORC was very honored to spend time with the Governor," added Shumaker.
TORC ended up ranked seventh in the state after the State Competition, out of over 270 teams.
Looking at how well they did at States and the World Championship, TORC members are proud and are holding their heads high. "We believe we are on the cusp of becoming champions," Shumaker said. "As the number four seed on Archimedes, TORC was in the top sixteen teams across the four fields that held 400 teams. We are very happy with our place in this world."
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.