Four Katy-Area Robotics Teams Advance to FIRST Lego League Regional Championship Tournament

Laura Behringer and Alanna Riley of the Brainiac Maniacs celebrate after their robot scores a tournament-high 195 points. The Brainiac Maniacs, a team of Girl Scouts from Katy, is one of six teams from the Katy Qualifier advancing to FIRST LEGO League Texas South Region Championship Tournament.

The Cinco Ranch Junior High gym echoed with the sound of cheering as the CRyptonite robotics team from Cinco Ranch High School (CRHS) hosted their seventh annual FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO® League Katy Qualifier robotics tournament. Of the 24 teams competing, four from the Katy-area and two others earned a coveted “Golden Ticket” to advance to the FIRST LEGO League Texas South Region Championship Tournament, held January 27, 2018 at the British International School in Katy.

FIRST LEGO League is an annual international robotics competition for students from 4th to 8th grade in teams of two to ten members. The teams create and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology to solve as many pre-determined missions as possible in a 2 ½ minute time period. They also research a real-world problem and create and present a solution to judges, all while demonstrating core values, such as having fun, gracious professionalism® and coopertition®. CRyptonite is a FIRST Robotics Competition team from Cinco Ranch High School that builds more advanced robots to compete in international competitions for high school-age students.  The team is dedicated to developing engineering, problem-solving and teamwork skills.  In addition to organizing and running the Katy Qualifier, CRyptonite members who were previously on FIRST Lego League teams helped coach three of the Katy-area teams that are advancing.

According to Bella Riffle, CRHS senior and fourth year CRyptonite team member, who was Student Coordinator for the tournament, “CRyptonite is dedicated to developing the next generation of scientists and engineers and this tournament helps support that goal”. To this end, a Rookie Coach Award was given to Alex Dial for his work with the Computerized Coyotes team from Beck Jr. High. Dial, a second-year member of CRyptonite, was a on a FIRST LEGO League team at Beck.

Added Kyna McGill, first year CRyptonite member and announcer for the qualifier, who also mentored an advancing team, “FIRST taught me many valuable lessons about teamwork, project management and more, and motivated me to continue in robotics.  Several team members – including me – are using this knowledge to help develop and give back to younger teams.”

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Teams that won awards in the individual phases of the competition and received a Golden Ticket to compete in the FIRST LEGO League Texas South Region Championship Tournament were:

  • Champions Award – Banshees (Team 31103): Houston (Rookie team)
  • Programming – Beck-O-Bytes (Team 15593): Beck Jr. High, Katy
  • Research – Brainiac Maniacs (Team 25108): Girl Scouts of San Jacinto County, Katy (Elementary age)
  • Presentation – Symbiotes (Team 30582): Beck Jr. High, Katy (Rookie team)
  • Innovative Solutions – Cyberwolves (Team 13764): Beck Jr. High, Katy
  • Strategy and Innovation – Computerized Coyotes (Team 34795): Beck Jr. High, Katy (Rookie team)

Other awards presented at the tournament were:

  • Teamwork – SLJH1 (Team 21405): Seven Lakes Jr. High, Katy
  • Mechanical Design – Memorial Parkway Eagles Two (Team 27461): Memorial Pkwy Jr. High, Katy (Rookie team)
  • Inspiration – Sabercats (Team 24061): Smith Middle School, Cypress (Rookie team)
  • Gracious Professionalism – Bulldog Bots (Team 35602): Richmond (Rookie team)
  • Robot Score – Brainiac Maniacs (Team 25108): Girl Scouts of San Jacinto County, Katy (Elementary age)