The Maui High School Blue Thunder FIRST Robotics team went undefeated in the qualifying rounds and reached the semifinals before bowing out of the Los Angeles Regionals earlier this month.
The Baldwin High robotics team finished fourth in the qualifying rounds and fell in the quarterfinals in the competition March 21 to 23 in the Long Beach Arena.
The game, played this year on a 27-by-54-foot flat field, is titled "Ultimate Ascent," with alliances of three robots working to put as many discs as they can in their goals during a 2 minute, 15 second match. The match begins with a 15-second session, where the robots work autonomously.
Glesa Tolentino, (back to front) junior; Cheska Liwag, senior; and Racieli Andrada, junior, of the Maui High School Blue Thunder robotics team prepare their bot for competition in the Los Angeles Regionals.
KEITH IMADA photo
The rest of the time, drivers control the bots.
The match ends with the bots attempting to climb up pyramids near the middle of the field, and bots earn points based on how high they climb.
In the qualifying rounds, Maui finished with an 8-0 record, which left them in the No. 1 spot. That's an advantageous position because the team has first dibs on choosing its alliance members. Baldwin finished fourth with a 6-2 record.
Maui High's alliance for the finals rounds included Connelly High School & Rosary High School, the ninth-ranked team, and Loyola High School Los Angeles.
Baldwin was teamed with Mira Costa High School and St. John Bosco High School.
Maui High's alliance swept through its best-of-three quarterfinal match undefeated. After winning the first match, the Baldwin alliance lost its next two matches.
In the semifinals, the Maui High alliance won the first match 95-79 but lost its next two matches 102-95 and 113-68.
FIRST Robotics competitions provide an educational and engineering environment for students intended to help them in the job market.
"FIRST's competition brings out the competitiveness of life with the fun of learning," a news release about the program said.