Eastern Shore Teams Take On Robot Battle In Regional Tournament - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Eastern Shore Teams Take On Robot Battle In Regional Tournament

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Robots took over the Comcast Center at University of Maryland this weekend, as teams of high school students and their creations flocked to College Park for the
Chesapeake Regional FIRST Robotics Tournament.

"Basically, it's the Super Bowl of robotics," said Tyler Jenkins, a member of Team 4945 - "Titanium Wrecks" of Worcester County. "Its where everyone comes together and competes together and just has a good time."

The weekend of tournament fun was a culmination of eight weeks of hard work, and Team T-Wrecks was one of more than 50 joining in.

For Tyler and the 68,000 other high school students building robots, FIRST is more than an after-school club. It's a special creative outlet.

"At home I've always taken things apart and just tinkering," said Jenkins, a Senior at Stephen Decatur High. "This is just so much greater and such a better opportunity than anything I could have ever imagined."

And it's one that helps many lay the groundwork for their future. Jenkins wants to be an engineer, a common theme in FIRST, echoed by Ethan Ames of Wicomico County's RoboSpectrum team.

"Being able to know how to design something would be helpful as an engineer," said Ames. "And it just really helps with problem solving and learning to work together to work together to accomplish a common goal."

After a weekend of careful planning, reworking robots and strategic game play, the last qualifying game for a tournament playoff spot put the two teams from the Eastern Shore up against each other.

Wicomico County pulled it out with an impressive high-score, but both teams fell short of an automatic entry. That left them both hoping one of the eight top teams would invite them to play. In the end only, Worcester County was asked to join a playoff alliance.

The alliance of three made it to the final rounds and suffered a loss. But that won't stop their dream of making it to the World Finals. The first-time players already nabbed a "Rookie All-Star Award," guaranteeing them a spot in St. Louis.

"We never anticipated we'd get this far and we're really excited about it," Jenkins said.

And as if this year has not been challenging enough, the team faces a fight to raise more than $8,000 to cover travel and expenses. But, Jenkins is looking beyond the immediate task, and is anxious about competing on the global playing field.

"I look forward to just seeing all the amazing ideas because you will not see two of the same robots in the arena, everyone will have a different idea, a different approach," Jenkins said. "There's just so much ingenuity in this room. In here could be the next big invention."

T-Wrecks will be joined by fellow Worcester County team the "Beach Bots" from Berlin.

To donate to Team Titanium Wrecks, click here: http://www.team-t-wrecks.org/donate.html

To donate to Beach Bots, click here: http://worcesterbeachbots.org/

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