Jackson robotics team places second in world

Jack in the Bot team beat out entries from 27 countries
By Dan Aznoff | May 03, 2018

The Jack in the Bot robotics team finished second in the world completion that drew 91,000 students and 3,660 teams from 27 countries to Houston in April.

The George R. Brown Convention Center was rocking with excitement for four days as more than 15,000 finalists from around the world traveled to Texas to put their innovation skills to the test at the annual FIRST® Robotics Competition.

The final event attracted 30,000 participants and fans came down to a heart-pounding conclusion Saturday night in front of thousands of cheering fans when teams competed in match finals for the world championship!

“I’m so incredibly proud of the team and their amazing accomplishment. On and off the field they performed like champs,” said Maggie Thorleifson, Jackson High robotics advisor.

FIRST Robotics Competition combines sports excitement with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources and time limits, teams are challenged to fundraise, design a brand, exercise teamwork and build and program robots to perform tasks against competitors.

The 2018 challenge, FIRST POWER UP, finds teams and their robots trapped in an 8-bit video game. The team with the highest score at the end of the match, which includes autonomous and tele-operated periods, defeats the boss and wins the game.

The Jackson High Jack in the Bot team won the Carver Sub-Division with a 15-1-0 record, which qualified them to advance to the Einstein Field and compete against other division winners.

“At each level of play, the intensity of play increased and our drive team had very little time between matches at the Einstein Field semi-finals,” explained Thorleifson. “With less than 10 minutes between matches, our team used cans of air to cool down our motors so the robot would be ready for the next match.

With a record of 4-1-0, the team qualified for the finals at the Minute Maid Field also known as the FIRST World Championship! Jack in the Bot came in second after being defeated by a 20-year veteran team who carried an unprecedented record of 53-0-0 wins in official FIRST play.

“Countless times coaches and student members of other teams came up to me to compliment both the performance of our team and the amazing attitude of the drive team!” said Thorleifson. “They were impressed with the cooperation and leadership they presented to their alliance on the field, which was invaluable to teams that competed with them!”

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