Hundreds attend FIRST Lego League competitions

Monday, December 09, 2019

The 2019 FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) West Virginia State Championship Tournaments were hosted at Fairmont State University over the weekend. 

Saturday’s FLL event saw 36 teams from across the state compete in four areas: Core Values, Innovation Project, Robot Design, and the Robot Game. This year’s challenge was City Shaper, where teams had to consider “how cities and buildings grow, thrive, and change,” including topics like accessibility, sustainability, and responsiveness to disasters. In order to arrive at this tournament, teams had to be successful at one of seven regional tournaments held throughout November across West Virginia. 

The Champion’s Award went to the Putnam Pink Ladies. This is the highest award of the tournament, and is determined by taking all four areas into equal consideration. They also received the highest score for robot performance, with 425 points (scores). They will advance to the FIRST LEGO League World Festival in Detroit, April 29-May 2. Thanks to a generous donation from Southern West Virginia Robotics Club, their registration for the tournament has already been paid for.  

Second place for the Champion’s award went to The Viking Voyagers, and third place went to the Clover STEMs. Also notable was the Innovative Solution Award, which was awarded to Radioactive. They will advance to the Global Innovation Award Tournament in June at Epcot. 

In between judging rounds, robot matches, and the awards ceremony, there was a FIRST LEGO League Jr. Expo. Nineteen teams showed off projects they had created about this year’s challenge, “Boomtown Build.” Similar to the FLL challenge, teams had to think about how their communities could be designed to be safer and more inclusive. All teams in this non-competitive program received an award to recognize their hard work. 

The FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship on Sunday saw 20 teams from eight compete for an invitation to the World Championship in Detroit. Similar to the FLL tournament, teams design and run a robot on a course, as well as competing for several judged awards. This year’s challenge was Skystone. In each round, teams are paired with a random partner and try to outscore another randomly paired alliance in a head-to-head match. This year’s field included a bridge teams got points for being able to fit under, a foundation they could push into “safe” territory, and blocks that had to be stacked to score points, finished off with a team-designed capstone.  

MCubed from Monroe County won the State Championship Inspire Award, and will represent West Virginia at the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship. The Gas Attendants from Indiana were the captains of the winning alliance and earned a place at the Maryland Tech Invitational in June. 

A full list of awards for FLL can be found at http://bit.ly/WVFLL2019. Photos of teams accepting their awards can be found here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1uL-10twMn4CA-weOw5KMV_DGH0R3aVcN

Scores for all FIRST Tech Challenge teams and rankings can be found here: https://ftcscores.com/event/PkJFw2lJ