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Circuit Birds compete at 2018 Mahoning Valley Robotics Challenge

July 3, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The Canfield Circuit Birds were one of 18 teams that competed on Saturday (June 30) in the Northeast Ohio FIRST Robotics League (NEOFRA), 2018 Mahoning Valley Robotics Competition. The event was hosted by Austintown and held at Austintown Middle School.

The Canfield Circuit Birds was made up of team members Gennaro Russo, Foster Sipp, Erik Weimer, Brandon Stratton, Alex Sarene, Robert Faix, Beverly Sipp, and mentors Don Crum, Donald Cutrer Jr., and Jim Sarene.

The event was a day-long affair with preliminaries held in the morning hours. It pitted robot against robot as each team tried to earn as many points as possible.

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier

The Canfield Circuit Birds competition robotics team competed on Saturday in the Northeast Ohio FIRST Robotics League 2018 Mahoning Valley Robotics Challenge at Austintown Middle School. Canfield was one of 18 teams at the event. Pictured are team members, mentor Jim Sarene, Gennaro Russo, Foster Sipp, Donald Cutrer, Erik Weimer, Brandon Stratton, robot 4601, Alex Sarene, Robert Faix, mentor Don Crum, and Beverly Sipp.

After a break for lunch, the teams returned to the gymnasium where they had to create an alliance of three to compete to the finals rounds. The team with the most points from the preliminaries got to make the first choice and on down through the list. The teams already saw what other robots were capable of from the morning session and the idea was to create the strongest alliance.

"We ended up in an alliance with Parma and Orange high schools," said Canfield's mentor Don Crum.

In the finals, the alliances of three teams each had several tasks that could help determine the winner. One task was to place cubes in a high scale to tip it to that alliance's side. Another was to move "power cubes" to a conveyor belt for points and if a robot could, there was a hook that a robot could lift itself up with.

Once the round started there were six robots at work, each helping its alliance and guided by nine controllers behind a glass booth.

Some teams experienced unexpected problems. The host team, Austintown, was in the quarter finals when the robot stopped communicating. It sat idle for a long time before it picked up the signal again, but by that time the match was over and the other alliance won.

In the end, the alliance with Canfield made it to the semi-final rounds, but did not make the finals. The alliance of Warren (Delphi) and Erie, Pennsylvania, and Johnston, Pennsylania took this year's event.

While the event was all about promoting science and technology, it also had some other sides to it. Concessions were available with proceeds will help fund future NEOFRA robotics competitions.

"NEOFRA was also hosting a charity food drive at the event to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley," said Fitch mentor and event host Andy Yantes. "We encouraged spectators to bring non-perishable food items and drop them off at the designated drop-off areas when they arrive."



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