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March 20, 2013

Local teams shine in botball conference

NORMAN — Mechanical mayhem and engineering excellence were on display Saturday at the Oklahoma Botball Regional Tournament at the NCED Conference Center & Hotel in Norman.

In a tournament that had 39 teams competing from all around the region and as far away as Texas, Arkansas and New Mexico, local teams shined.

Botball is an educational robotics program for middle- and high-school aged students where teams build autonomous robots and compete with other teams from around the nation and world for points in several areas to raise composite scores.

Teams must document the design, construction and programming of their machines. At the beginning of a tournament, teams are seeded according to solo non-competitive performance and placed into a double elimination bracket. The third phase is a head-to-head competition culminating in a final champion. Scores from each phase are combined to create a total score. The team with the highest highest total score wins overall.

Norman Advanced Robotics placed third in overall competition after taking the top seed in the tournament and scoring a perfect rating for documentation. Meanwhile, the boys from Whittier Middle School won the double elimination tournament, beating out Classen School of Advanced Studies from Oklahoma City following the Whittier boys’ No. 2 seeding and taking seventh overall.

But Whittier wasn’t satisfied with just one outstanding team. The girls’ team was seeded eighth and received respectable marks for documentation but most importantly, they beat the Norman Advanced Robotics team in the double elimination phase of the tournament.

“Whatever happens from here, we beat Norman. I think we did pretty well,” Prachi Nelson said.

Irving Middle School made a strong showing in every portion of the event, advancing deep into the double elimination brackets, scoring 91.9 percent for documentation, seeding in ninth and taking sixth overall.

Alcott Middle School took the 15th spot, and Dimensions Academy High School made a respectable showing in the middle of the pack.

Local teams also received special judges’ choice awards for excellence in specific areas. Area teams were recognized for special achievement in outstanding engineering, exceptional programming, sub-system design and team spirit.

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