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Northville Robotics Team Competes in FIRST Competition in Troy

Troy Athens High School hosted 40 robotics teams from around the state competing for a bid to the state finals.

Forty Michigan robotics teams went toe-to-toe Friday in the first day of the two-day Troy FIRST Robotics Districts Competition at .

The competition features teams from around the state, including 's Robostangs.

Team members control robots, built from a kit of parts, that are equipped to shoot mini basketballs into hoops.

It's more than just scoring baskets

The competition,  titled "Rebound Rumble," has two teams (or alliances), controlling their robots to score as many baskets as possible in 2 minutes, 15 seconds.

The battleground is like a combination of a basketball court with a "Quidditch" field, with five hoops on each side of the 27-by-54-foot court.

Teams are divided into eight alliances that face off in 12 qualifying matches, and then are seeded into an elimination round beginning Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Points are scored by robots successfully making baskets, and bonus points are awarded at the end of the match by balancing the robot on a "coopertition bridge" - this is where the 'action' happens and robots crash into each other and can get flipped over.

This is the fifth and final regional competition; the winning teams will advance to the state finals at Eastern Michigan University in two weeks.

"We begin setup in the venue on Wednesday afternoon.  All of the material is staged, the electrical cabling is done and the preliminary Audio/Video is set up," event coordinator Hans Rodgers said.

Also, students in Athens' gym class and volunteers from participating teams helped set up the field on Thursday before the doors opened at 6 p.m.

Rodgers, a Grand Blanc resident, works with the Troy-based Hammerheads  and has been helping host this event with FIRST in Michigan since the program started four years ago.

The first day

"Team Thunderchickens" from Sterling Heights was in first place following the first morning of qualifying rounds on Friday; by the end of the day, Huron Valley's HOT Team led the competion.

The Thunderchicks team has about 20 members, four of which are in the pit crew responsible for controlling their robot, "Iris."

"We only have six weeks to prepare for the competition, so we immediately start looking for volunteers and meet everyday," Team Thunderchickens pit crew member Bob Dube said.

Dube and his teammates have a tradition of wearing crazy hats and they were sporting KFC chicken buckets during qualifying matches. 

The local teams competing

Northville High School: Robostangs

Troy School District: Hammerheads

Notre Dame Prep: Killer Bees

Rochester Adams and Stoney Creek high schools:  AdamBots

Huron Valley Schools: HOT Team

L'Anse Creuse Public Schools: Rockem Sockem Robots

International Academy Central Campus: Las Guerrillas

Royal Oak Schools: Oakview Crewz

Henry Ford Academy, Dearborn: Gator-Bots

Bloomfield Hills Andover and Lahser high schools: Bionic Barons

Oakland Schools Technical Center Southeast and Birmingham Seaholm High School: Automation Nation

Clawson High School: TurboTrojans

International Academy East Campus: The Exiles

Saturday's Schedule

8 a.m.: Pits open

9:30 a.m.: Qualifying matches resume

12:30 p.m.: Alliance selections for elimination round

2 p.m.: Elimination round begins

5 p.m.: Elimination round ends and awards announced

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