Source: Sherman Publications

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Martians ready

by David Fleet

February 19, 2014

It's 6:30 p.m. and Patrick Major looks rather relaxed.

And he should.

The two Goodrich FIRST Robotics Team 494 and Team 70 robots were completed and ready to go.

"We have had the best build season ever in 2014, finishing early with a great group of students and mentors," said Major, team head coach.

Tuesday night marked the end of the build phase for 2014. From the first Saturday in January to midnight Feb. 18, the Martian teams have been working on two robots for competition. Now the robots are bagged up until March when both teams put their creations to the test. Team 494 will compete March 1 at Centerline High School. On March 8, Team 70 will compete at Kettering University in Flint.

Robots are built in six weeks from a common kit of parts provided by FIRST, and typically weigh up to 150 pounds. Each year a new game for the robots is broadcast over the NASA channel, so teams gets the rules nationwide simultaneously. The objective is then to build the robots to play the game and compete with other high schools.

"This will be our 14th year competing," he added. The Goodrich FIRST Robotics Team 494 was formed in 2000 In 2006, Team 70 was added as Goodrich became the first high school in the nation to have two FIRST robotics teams."

"We have 26 students this year including an exchange student from China, Limeng Liu," said Patrick Major. "He is staying with Greg and Kelsey Thurk, both mentors on the team. We also have a second exchange student, Jonas Reinhardt from Germany, he is staying with Nick and Marilynn Grant, they are also mentors on our team. Our new robotics lab at the high school has enhanced our mentoring and building program tremendously," said Major. "The skill sets that the students can learn have increased because of the equipment donated by General Motors."

The 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition includes 2,720 teams and 68,000 high-school students grades 9-12 who compete in 54 regional events, four qualifying championships, and 40 qualifying (district) competitions. The FIRST Robotics Competition Championship is in St. Louis, Mo, April 23-26.