Two Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School FIRST LEGO League teams competed Dec. 7 – 8 at the VA/DC State Championship Tournament on the grounds of James Madison University in Harrisonburg by qualifying at regional tournaments in November for the state championship.
After winning its regional competition and receiving the Champions Award, the Like A Bot team was given a special Judges Award in Division 2 at this year’s state championship.
The Like A Bot team’s robot, which was admired for its pneumatic claw, included a forklift and triangular treads. It was designed to gather Lego people, pets, and food and move them over obstacles to safe regions on the competition table. For their research, team members devised the Freddy Finder, named after one of the teammates, which employs radio-frequency identification to locate missing people buried in earthquake rubble.
According to the judges, they wanted to recognize the students for being a strong team overall, excelling in all areas of FLL. Coached by Kelly Poort, David Salak, and Mary Stevens, the team members are Jakob Wegmueller, Ben Salak, Cindy Lay, Yael Cohen, Henry Stevens, Nathan Sperry, Andrew Wong, Freddy Bruner, and Adam Hinden.
The Great White Gears team finished 12th out of a field of 65 in Division 1 for robot performance with their best run of the year. Coached by Greg Thacker and Tom Updike, the team members are Jake Leach, Quinn Thacker, Jacob Nelson, Ben Updike, and Robert Wegmeuller.