For the Cumberland Times-News
OAKLAND — Garrett County’s FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics teams, sponsored by 4-H and GEARS, rose to the top at the Maryland FTC Qualifying Tournament at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis last weekend.
The Garrett County FTC sister teams, G-FORCE and Techno Clovers, went through the qualifying tournament rounds with only one loss each and finished in first and second place, respectively. The teams will advance to the Maryland FTC Championship Tournament at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel on Feb. 23.
The sister teams selected the Audere est Facere team from Chapelgate Christian Academy in Marriottsville for their third alliance partner. The alliance won its first two of three matches to advance to the final rounds. Then the alliance worked together in the final games to bring home the Winning Alliance Trophy.
G-FORCE also won the Inspire Award, which is the most prestigious FTC award and is given to the team that truly embodies the challenge of the FTC program. The team was also nominated for the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award, the Connect Award and the Think Award.
Techno Clovers was recognized as the second-place Inspire Award winner and received the Think Award for having an engineering notebook that focused on the design-and-build stage of the team’s robot. Journal entries of interest to judges for this award included those describing the steps, brainstorms, designs, redesigns, successes and interesting moments when things weren’t going as planned. Techno Clovers was also nominated for the PTC Design Award.
The teams work with mentors Rich Bender, Ken Gotsch and Cindy Maust at the GEARS practice facility. Keith Handyside donated new team shirts this season.