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Allentown robotics team competes at world finals

Students who are members of a robotics team at Allentown High School recently traveled to Missouri to participate in a world championship competition and although they did not win a title, the young adults enjoyed the learning experience, according to their adviser.

Team 1807 Redbird Robotics took part in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics World Championship, which was held in St. Louis from April 26-29.

Team 1807 qualified for the world championship event by winning the Mid-Atlantic District Championship at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa., in April.

According to team adviser Robert Tackett, about 410 teams were at the FIRST Robotics World Championship. The teams were divided into six divisions.

“Over three days, each division competes independently to establish a winning alliance of four teams,” Tackett said. “Each of the winning alliances from the six divisions then compete on the Einstein field in a round robin format and the alliance with the best record is crowned the world champion.”

Redbird Robotics was in the Curie Division and finished 29th out of 68 teams in the qualification matches. The team advanced to the first round of the playoffs after being picked by the second alliance captain, according to Tackett, where Redbird Robotics’ alliance was eliminated upon losing in the tie-breaker match.

“This was the first time since 2009 that Redbird Robotics made it to the world championships,” Tackett said. “Our qualification for the championship came after a Cinderella season where we had some disappointing final results at our two district events at Hatboro-Horsham and Bridgewater.

“We knew we had a very good robot … but we just didn’t finish as high as we should have at those events. That was disappointing, but we knew we had a good robot and team and so we remained positive that we would still make it to the Mid-Atlantic District Championship at Lehigh University,” Tackett said.

“We ended up placing second out of 60 teams after the qualification matches and did very well in the playoffs to win the district championship. That performance qualified us to attend the world championships. We performed well in St. Louis by doing the things we do very well.

“In addition to the competition itself, our team attended seminars and learned from other teams and students about their robots. The experience was much more than robots and even though we were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs of the Curie Division, we came away from the experience as a better team and more informed than we were before attending the event,” Tackett said.

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