Lee’s Summit West High School’s robotics squad Team Titanium came within an eyelash of winning it all at the 26th annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) World Championship in St. Louis.
Team Titanium finished the qualifying rounds with the highest ranking score at the event, winning their division and going a perfect 6-0 in the elimination rounds. This qualified the team to advance to the “Einstein Field” where they faced the other five division winners. On this field, Team Titanium emerged No. 1 from round-robin play and advanced to the championship match. There, the three-robot alliance captained by Lee’s Summit West was upset by the No. 2 alliance.
Lee’s Summit West’s accomplishment is the highest finish by a Missouri team in the history of the FIRST World Championship. Team Titanium also won the Darwin-Curie Industrial Design Award, sponsored by General Motors, for the robot design, craftsmanship and performance.
This year’s game, called “Steamworks,” features three major tasks. They include rapid firing pickle balls into an open funnel, catching giant gears and placing them on spring pegs and climbing a free hanging rope. All FIRST teams had six weeks in January and February to analyze the objectives, design solutions, fabricate, wire, program and refine their designs.
A total of 406 teams from the around the world qualified for the championships, held in late April.
“This year the world championship was split between two events, one in Houston the week before, and one in St. Louis where we competed,” said Team Titanium coach Aaron Bailey. “The organization has decided to call the winner of both events World Champions. They will play an exhibition event against each other in July, but no titles are on the line.”
The other two public high schools in Lee’s Summit also qualified for the St. Louis event.
Lee’s Summit High School’s Team Driven was the alliance captain for the sixth-seeded alliance in the Archimedes division. Team Driven made it all the way to the semifinals losing to an alliance of teams from York, Pa.; New Haven, Conn.; Midlothian, Va.; and Toronto.
While at the World Championship, Team Driven also hosted Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.
Lee’s Summit North High School Broncobots ranked 29th after the qualification matches. The team was invited to play with the seventh seed alliance going into the finals in the Archimedes division. The Broncobots won the first quarterfinal match, but lost to the second-seed alliance made up of the same teams that beat Lee’s Summit HIgh.
Teams from each high school earned spots at the world competition by winning qualifying contests during the annual robotics season. This is the fifth time in the last nine years that all three district high schools have qualified for the World Championship.
Now, all three Lee’s Summit R-7 teams are preparing to compete in the third annual Missouri FIRST Championship, scheduled for Saturday. Lee’s Summit West’s Team Titanium is the second-time defending state champion at this event. Lee’s Summit High’s Team Driven won the inaugural event meaning that only Lee’s Summit teams have captained the winning alliances of the Robotics Missouri State Championship.
Lee’s Summit North is the highest ranking team coming into the Missouri Championships. Lee’s Summit West is ranked third and Lee’s Summit High School is ranked sixth. These ranks are determined by cumulative outcomes through the regular robotics season.
Unlike many other activities, acceptance into the world event does not depend on performances at the state championship level. The district said the world championship is always held before the Missouri event.