Safe Harbor’s Michigan City Robotics Team Wins State Championship



MICHIGAN CITY, INDIANA (April15, 2018) – Safe Harbor’s Michigan City High School Robotics Team, the RoboBlitz, were crowned state champs on Saturday.  The RoboBlitz were part of a three-team alliance that won the FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology) Robotics 2018 State Championship Tournament held in Kokomo on April 14th and 15th.


Michigan City High School Senior Courtney Hart said, “This weekend was a great weekend obviously.  Over the past few weeks, we’ve worked hard to really solidify some of the robot performance items on our hit list. We focused heavily on our robot lift mechanism and that paid off.  Our hook and winch system lifted the robot off the floor consistently at the end of matches all weekend.  That helped us earn a First Seed Alliance pick and put us on a path to win the State Championship.”


Michigan City High School Senior Scott Kreighbaum said, “Designing and building our most complicated robot ever left us with little practice time with our robot early in the season.  Going from having basically no practice on the field at all to coming to the third competition and winning state is an amazing experience. The change in momentum from the beginning of the season to the end of the season was just a great experience for my senior year.  In the last match of the state championship, we broke a wheel and we weren’t feeling too great.  But the robot held up and we made through the last match.  We made it home with the State Championship.”


The RoboBlitz Alliance breezed through the Quarterfinal and Semifinal best-of-three matches going undefeated and entered the Finals as the higher seeded Alliance and favorite.  But a drive motor voltage spike caused a disruption with one of the Alliance robots and the RoboBlitz Alliance lost the first match of the Finals by a score of 377 to 293.  This forced the RoboBlitz Alliance to have to win the next two matches to win the State Championship.  Facing elimination, they won the final two matches by scores of 339 to 266 and 353 to 192.


High School Teacher and Robotics Team Coach Ralph Gee said, “Our students were focused on building a quality robot and worked really hard all season to achieve a high degree of consistency in the robot’s performance. It’s great to be able to get to State Championships and then win them. And now we’re the State Champs and we are looking forward to going to the World Championships in Detroit in two weeks.”


Safe Harbor Director Sherri Silcox said, “The RoboBlitz will be hosting an open house to showcase the work students have done this year as a part of FIRST Robotics.  Our students, made up of high school students, wants to share their passion for STEM with the entire community and this will be a perfect opportunity to meet the new State Champs!  Business leaders, kids, parents, and potential mentors are all welcome.”

The RoboBlitz Lab Open House will be held on Thursday evening from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the A.K. Smith Center, 817 Lafayette Street.

The RoboBlitz has been in existence since 2011 and this is the first State Championship won by the RoboBlitz since the championship began in 2015.


Game Description:  Since January 6, 2018 Safe Harbor’s Michigan City FIRST Team 3936 “RoboBlitz” has been working on a robot to compete in this year’s game, “Power Up.”  Robots compete on a basketball court sized field in alliances of 3.  This game is a 1980’s arcade game themed game.  The robots have to pick up cubes and deliver them to one of 3 scales or to the “power up” station.  Robots are both autonomous and tele-operated by students in 2 ½ minute matches.


FIRST Description:  Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.” Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.

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