A group of 13 St. Mary's School students will compete at a 13-state robotics tournament this weekend.
FIRST Robotics Trial 'N Terror team will compete at the FTC West tournament, joining 71 teams from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Of the 205 Oregon teams to advance from the recent state tournament, Trial N' Terror is one of 14 to advance to FTC West, which runs through Sunday at the Spokane Convention Center. They are one of two from Southern Oregon, with the other area team from Sutherlin.
Teams that advance beyond this tournament will progress to the world competition.
"I'm actually very excited," said 17-year-old junior Calix Kim.
The FIRST Tech Challenge is designed for students in seventh through 12th grade. Participants design a robot and compete in tournaments where they and the robot must complete a themed task.
The 2017-18 theme was called "Relic Recovery," according to Trial 'N Terror coach Catherine Dauterman. Students were tasked with creating a robot that can balance on stones and collect jewels on its own. Students can then take control and guide the robot toward the collection of brown and gray foam cubes, which they must arrange in specific patterns — "glyphs" — inside a "crypto box" in an attempt to "unlock" it. They are also tasked with collecting little plastic statues — "relics."
The goal is to get as many points as they can over the course of a couple minutes.
The St. Mary's team dubbed their creation 'Dent Kauterman," an homage to coach and adviser Kent Dauterman.
"Sort of a unanimous vote," Catherine Dauterman, Kent's wife, said.
Since students finished it, they and the mass of parts and wires have competed at numerous tournaments this school year. They have collected several accolades, including the "Inspire" award, given to the best overall team at a super-qualifier tournament.
"Which was really fantastic," Kent Dauterman said.
The team also received a design award for their robot and two "Dean's List" recognitions — given to individual standout students. Junior Calix Kim was a semifinalist, and junior Gordon Dauterman was a finalist.
Now another tournament awaits, and students are eager to make their mark.
"They just want to get out there and show people what they can do," Catherine Dauterman said.
— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.