Error Code Xero takes first place at regional competition

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOSH KULLA - Adrian Shotola-Hardt, left, and Kjel Petterson-Willey fine-tune FIRST Team 1425's robot ahead of the regional competition at Wilsonville High School March 21 and 22.West Linn-Wilsonville School District’s high school FIRST robotics team did more than just host the regional competition at Wilsonville High School last weekend — they also won it.

FIRST Team 1425 — Error Code Xero — took eighth seed at the tournament after qualifying rounds on Friday and on Saturday morning.

“We played 12 qualifying matches and won seven,” team lead Karen Harper said. “Out of 32 teams, we were the eighth robot.”

After lunch on Saturday, elimination rounds began. First, the teams formed alliances, with the top eight teams choosing partners to form three-team alliances.

FIRST Team 4488 from Glencoe High School in Hillsboro was the first seed, and that team’s members were well aware of 1425’s strengths.

“We beat them on Friday in an alliance match,” Harper said.

The two teams had gone head-to-head before at a competition held earlier this month in Oregon City. Glencoe came out ahead that time, but it was a close. The score of the final match was 67-70 in favor of Glencoe’s team.

“We complemented each other,” Harper said. “They’re similar robots.”

The Glencoe team chose 1425 as a partner, and together both teams chose a team from Tualatin to round out their alliance.

1425’s robot is just one of the team’s strengths. The team also excels at strategy and knowledge of the competition.

“If there’s one misconception about FIRST robotics, people think it’s just about building a robot and driving it around,” Harper said.

The team uses a custom-designed strategy application to track the competition. At matches, the six-person strategy team uses the app to tally points and keep tabs on the other teams competing.

“Our team developed (the app),” Harper said. “It’s specific to this game.”

Following its win Saturday, FIRST Team 1425 is ranked third in the region, out of about 150 teams. The top 24 teams from the region advance to the world competition in St. Louis April 24.

“We’ve made it to the world championships three years. We’re hoping to do that again,” Harper said.

FIRST Team 1425 also took home the tournament’s Excellence in Engineering award.

“It celebrates a team that not only has excellence in engineering but they can also explain it,” Harper said. “We had a meeting before the competition and planned it out with our marketing team. Each (design) decision we made, we documented it so we could explain it to the judges.

“It’s not only that the robot looks good, it’s that we could explain it,” she said.

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