Maple Grove Senior High robotics team sets example for current and future FIRST Tech Challenge competitors.
MAPLE GROVE, MN (December 13, 2017) — The past two weekends have been busy for Crimson Robotics. The Maple Grove Senior High School (MGSH) robotics team gained two victories at its FIRST Tech Challenge, qualifying for state competitions a week after hosting a statewide FIRST Lego League tournament. At the MN FIRST Tech Challenge Regional Qualifier, held in Columbia Heights, MN on Saturday, December 9, Crimson Robotics’ 60-person team split into five smaller teams and played in three-team alliances against Minnesota-area FIRST Tech Challenge teams in this year’s Relic Recovery challenge.
Although all five Crimson Robotics teams — Architects, Bee Movie, Catalyst, Dandy Lions, and Egg – fared well at the qualifier, three teams – Architects, Dandy Lions, and Egg — advanced to the tournament’s finals. Teams Dandy Lions and Architects earned their respective first and second place victories and advanced to the MN FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship, which will be held in February. Team Egg received the Control Award for its excellence in “innovative thinking in the control system to solve game challenges.”
MGSH sophomore and Team Dandy Lions member Rebecca Martinez-Zamora was especially thrilled at Crimson Robotics’ success. “I was really proud of our team and all of our hard work,” said Martinez-Zamora. “It meant a lot to win, especially given that this is Crimson Robotics’ second year in a row of attending state.”
Martinez-Zamora was also nominated as a semi-finalist for the FIRST Dean’s List Award, a national award that strives to recognize “the leadership and dedication of the most outstanding FIRST Tech Challenge students.” “Being nominated has allowed me to feel like I had some importance to the team and appreciate what I do and how much being a part of robotics inspires,” added Martinez-Zamora. “Until you’re a part of it, you don’t realize how big its impact is.”
The impact of robotics is something that Crimson Robotics seeks to extend not only to members of its team, but also to members of its community. The team recently hosted a statewide FIRST Lego League tournament at Park Center Senior High in Brooklyn Park for participants in grades K-8. The tournament, themed HydroDynamics, drew more than 200 students in 60-plus teams on Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3. Crimson Robotics provided nearly 90 student and parent volunteers to assist with all aspects of tournament management, including field logistics, merchandise sales, and set-up.
“The First Lego League tournament is a part of Crimson Robotics’ larger mission to promote STEM in the community,” said Carter Herman, a MGSH senior who is co-captain of Crimson Robotics’ outreach department. “The team has an outreach program that involves sending high school students to mentor FIRST Lego League and FIRST Lego League Jr. teams in District 279 elementary and middle schools, many of which competed at the tournament.”
Organizing both victories in competition and in running a large-scale tournament requires a group of strong and dedicated student team members, one that Crimson Robotics coach Erik Malm said he could not be prouder of.
“The tournament was extremely successful and we were complimented both by the organizers and veteran teams, who said it was one of the best-run events they’ve been to,” said Malm, a faculty member at MGSH and one of the driving forces behind organizing the tournament. “It is such an honor to be able to work with a group of high school students who are so selflessly driven to improving their community.”
About Crimson Robotics:
Crimson Robotics (Team 2526) is a FIRST Robotics Competition Team based out of Maple Grove Senior High School in Maple Grove, MN. Crimson Robotics competes on a fall and winter season schedule, with team-wide FIRST Robotics Competition preparations coming up in January. The team also runs an outreach program that ISD 279 FIRST Lego League and FIRST Lego League Jr. teams and STEM events throughout the Twin Cities. Crimson Robotics partners with the Maple Grove Robotics Booster Club, a high school student-run, 501(c)3 nonprofit, to fund the team’s competition and outreach costs through community fundraisers and sponsorships from local corporations.