Swartdogs claim crown in Illinois

Colin McIntyre works on a machine.

Colin McIntyre works on a machine.

The robotics team, Swartdogs 525, won the Central Illinois regional in Pekin, Ill., this past weekend. The Swartdogs were on the winning allegiance and took first place. An allegiance is where one team joins one or more teams in the knockout stages. The top-seeded teams can choose their team first.

The competition this year is called Aerial Assist. The premise of the game is to score as many balls into a goal during a two minute 30 second match. The more each team scores balls into goals and the more it works together to do it, the more points it will receive.

Sophomore Sam Zhang thought the team met expectations.

“We made a list of criteria we wanted to achieve like a fast robot, accuracy and consistency while shooting, and good pickups. I think we reached those goals during the Central Illinois regional,” Zhang said.

The Swartdogs didn’t only win the regional, but won a few other awards as well. The Innovation in Control award is presented to the team that has the most innovative or creative control system or implementation of application of control components, and the Swartdogs won it.

That’s not all. One of the mentors of the team won the biggest award that a mentor could win. Mentor Jan Newendorp won the Woodie Flowers Award as well. It is given to mentors who lead, inspire and empower students by using extraordinary communication skills. There is only one award given out at each regional, and Newendorp won the prestigious award.IMG_3511

Newendorp is elated to win the distinguished award.

“Receiving this award at the FRC Central Illinois Regional was even more special since Dr. Woodie Flowers flew to Illinois and presented it to me. In talking with him afterwards it is clear why the award is named after him. He is very gracious. I am honored that our students nominated me,” Newendorp said.

The Swartdogs are not done with this season, however. There is another regional coming up in Cincinnati on the 26th of this month.

Since it won the Central Illinois regional, the team will be traveling to St. Louis later in the year for the FIRST Robotics Championship. It is a worldwide event, and last year, there were teams from 60 different nations. The prestigious tournament will take place starting April 23 and run until the 26th.

Newendorp is excited about FIRST Robotics at Cedar Falls High School.

“Students at CFHS are so fortunate to have a FIRST robotics team providing them with opportunities to work with professionals learning CAD, programming, engineering, public speaking and so much more.  None of this would be possible without Mr. Kenton Swartley, now in his 15th year leading this team,” Newendorp said.

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