BEND, Ore. -

Local robotics team High Desert Droids and their alliance partners (Error Code Xero of Wilsonville and Skunkworks of Des Moines, WA) were the Regional Winners at the Central Washington FIRST Robotics Tournament held March 21-23 at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA.

Fifty teams – 46 from Washington and 4 from Oregon – participated in the event.

The High Desert Droids’ robot, "T=mr^2a" (pronounced, "Tamra"), was designed, built, and programmed over the course of six weeks this winter to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition game, “Ultimate Ascent”. The robot is capable of firing flying discs at goals, maneuvering around a complicated playing field, and climbing to the first level of a structure to score points during each tournament match.

After a challenging series of qualifying matches on Friday and Saturday, the High Desert Droids were selected to join the fourth seed alliance led by “Error Code Xero” of Wilsonville, OR. In the quarterfinals they defeated the fifth seed alliance and progressed to the semifinals, during which they “upset” the first seed alliance and won two matches to move on to the finals. During the semifinals the alliance posted the highest score of the tournament, earning 202 points in one match.

The alliance went on to win two out of the three finals matches against the second seed alliance (comprised of two teams from Tacoma, WA and one team from Spokane, WA), earning all three teams the “Regional Winner” award for the event. (Match #2 of the finals can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjdPsYX_nyM.)

Now that their tournament season has ended, the High Desert Droids will focus on community outreach and fundraising, including two “Jr Science Camps” for students in grades K-3 to be held on Thursday and Friday of Spring Break.

Who Are We? Seven-Fifty-Three!

FIRST Team 753 (High Desert Droids) is a student–driven team of bright individuals drawn together by a passion for working as a team, building robots, and fostering excitement in science and technology through FIRST.  Formed in 2002, the team is based out of Mountain View High School and is comprised of students from all three Bend high schools and several home schooled students.

We are grateful for the support of our teachers, mentors, parents, and sponsors: Bend Research, Les Schwab Tire Centers, G5 Search Marketing, Microsemi, Manzama, Bend Plating, SimB & Company, PCC Schlosser, and Advanced Energy.

About the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)

"The varsity Sport for the Mind," FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.  It’s as close to "real-world engineering" as a student can get. Volunteer and professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. For more information, visit the FIRST website (http://www.usfirst.org/).