Alpha Hawks are generally on the left and top row and the Beta Hawks are on the right middle and bottom in similar T-shirt styles and Logos. Photograph by Heath Watkins
By ANN COOKE
Los Alamos Middle School’s two robotics teams travelled to Phoenix over the weekend to compete in Glendale’s FIRST Technical Challenge (FTC) Qualifying Tournament.
The Alpha Hawks, a team comprised of mostly eight graders, and the Beta Hawks, a team comprised of seventh graders, competed in a field of over twenty robotics teams, and were two of only three middle school teams attending in a field of otherwise older High School teams and were the only teams attending outside of Arizona.
After five seeding matches, where robots are paired together in randomly organized alliance pairs that compete against other robot alliances in this year’ challenge known as FIRST Relic Recovery, the Alphas were the top team and the Betas were seeded sixth. The top four teams automatically advanced to the semifinals but had to choose two other teams to complete their final alliance.
As the first seed and an alliance captain, the Alphas chose two strong teams, the Automatons: Team 6714, and Valley X Robotics: Team 2844. The second seeded Griffin Robotics: Team 1166, selected the Betas as their first choice of alliance partners and completed their alliance with the Knight Tech Robotics: Team 7716. Both alliances beat their semifinal opponents (best of two out of three matches) and advanced to head to head match up in the finals.
After the first two matches each alliance had one win, and the finals came down to the last match. The Alpha Hawk’s Alliance robots triumphed and were the winners of the Glendale Qualifying tournament, winning an invitation to the Arizona/New Mexico FTC Regional Championship Tournament in Flagstaff in February.
Countless hours have been invested by students, mentors, volunteers and parents who support the teams through the process of creating unique solutions to solving this year’s robotic challenge, and Alpha’s team captain, Elizabeth Frost, attributes much of their success to a cohesiveness that has grown out of nearly two years of team building.
For the Beta Hawks, team member Carter Watkins, observed that there were so many cool designs and materials used by attending teams to address this year’s robotics challenge at this tournament.
Both the Alpha and Beta Hawks will compete in another qualifying tournament in Albuquerque in January, and the Hawks’ FTC Robotics teams would like to thank their sponsors, Northern New Mexico Section of ASME, Los Alamos Public Schools, the Los Alamos Middle School, The United Church of Los Alamos and especially their parents and mentors.