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RoboCats chalk up another win

Oxford’s LOFT program won its regional basketball tournament. Congratulations! (click for larger version)
March 09, 2011 - The Oxford High School RoboCats continue to roll over their competitors.

Coming off a top 16 finish at the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) World Championship in Atlanta, Georgia in April 2010, the Robocats took on a field of 38 teams, defeating 35 of them to win the FIRST Robotics Competition at Kettering University on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4.

The RoboCats couldn't have won the competition without help from alliance members The Killer Bees from Auburn Hills Notre Dame Preparatory and The Juggernauts from Pontiac Oakland Schools Technical Campus Northeast High School.

"I'm proud of all the students and all of the hard work they have done and accomplished," team support leader Nancy Zuccaro said.

Oxford also won an award for the robot design, the Industrial Design Award. The award celebrated the form and function of an efficiently designed machine that effectively achieved the game challenge.

The Robocats competed against teams from Goodrich, Lake Orion, Huron Valley, Grand Blanc, Lapeer, Attica and Swartz Creek during the finals.

After playing a game of soccer last season, teams were thrown a curveball this year when FIRST announced two robots would have to be built for this year's game of LogoMotion, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of FIRST.

During LogoMotion, teams had to hang as many inflated plastic triangles, circles and squares on their grids as they could during a two minute and 15 second match.

The higher the teams hang their inflatables on the scoring grid, the higher the point total is.

The twist comes in at the end of the match when teams have to deploy a minibot that operates independently of the host robot onto nine-foot vertical poles. Teams earn additional points based on their finishing position after the minibots race to the top of pole and trigger a sensor.

Zuccaro said they found out about the new game on Jan. 8 and only had six weeks to come up with a design, build and test the robots before stopping work on Feb. 22.

Zuccaro would like to thank team sponsors Valeo, NorthEast Metal Craft LLC, KMT Robotic Solutions, CEC Controls Company, DURR Systems Inc., Granger Construction, Michigan Institute of Technology Inc., J&T Electrical Supply, J.J. Jinkleheimer & Company, Oxford Community Schools, Oxford High School and all the family and friends who supported the Robocats this season.

Up next for Oxford is a team competition in Livonia on Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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