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Carl Hayden robotics team wins FIRST robotics Arizona regional again

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  • Craig Pletenik/Phoenix Union High School District

Carl Hayden Robotics Team

The Carl Hayden Falcon Robotics team did it again, winning the Arizona FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Regional for the fourth consecutive year, March 20-22, at Hamilton High School in Chandler.

The Falcons joined forces with Flagstaff Coconino and Mesa Red Mountain High Schools for an alliance that went undefeated through two quarterfinal, two semifinal and two finals matches. 

Carl Hayden robotics team wins FIRST robotics Arizona regional again CarlHaydenRoboticsHP

Carl Hayden Falcon Robotics, left, Flagstaff Coconino, center, and Mesa Red Mountain High School, right, teams celebrate winning the Arizona FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Regional title in Chandler on March 20 and 21. Right click for a larger image. Photo courtesy of Phoenix Union High School District

The Red Alliance beat the Blue Alliance of Kingman, Sierra Vista Buena and Yuma High Schools, 225-101 and 301-180 in the championship matches Saturday.  The Falcons will next compete with over 400 teams at the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis, April 23-26.

While they have won the International Chairman’s Award before, the Falcons have come up short in the robotics game competition, but with this year’s robot, “Lorenzo’s Dream,” their dream may come true.

“This is the best-positioned robot technologically we have had, going into the international championships.  The best we have done is one match short of the finals,” Coach Fredi Lajvardi said.   “We have to beat 100 other teams just in our division to make it to the final four alliances and play on the “Einstein Field.”  The 301 points our alliance scored in the final match at the regional is among the highest scores in the world so far this year.”

This year’s game is Aerial Assist, played by two Alliances of three teams each. Alliances compete by trying to score as many balls in goals during a 2:30-minute match. Additional points are earned by robots working together to score goals, and by throwing and catching balls over a truss suspended five feet above the floor as they move the ball down the field.

The Carl Hayden robot scored early and often at regionals.  In the first ten seconds of each match during the autonomous period when the robot is pre-programed without the help of a driver, its robot’s scoring was practically automatic, giving the Falcons early leads in every match.  They were the highest autonomous scoring team at the event.

The Falcons team was made up of 20 students, including three on the competition floor, six scouting other teams and others working in the pits, and performing other duties, including the design, construction and programming of the robot.

The Falcons also earned other honors, winning the Rockwell Automation Innovation in Control Award, and senior Diserae Sanders was the FIRST Dean’s List #1 Finalist.  She was chosen by the judges based on her personal statement, test scores, college admission and recommendations, and her efforts in pushing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) forward.  She will be attending ASU for engineering next year. 

The Falcons, teaming with randomly selected teams, finished 7-3 in qualifying prelim matches and were 10th in the standings.  They were chosen by the top seed, Coconino, to form the winning three-team alliance.

Bioscience, North and Metro Tech High Schools also competed at the 49-team Arizona Regionals.  

The Bioscience Dragon Robotics finished 15th in prelims with a 6-4 match record, and advanced to the semifinals.  They teamed with Vail High School and Tempe Union Schools to knock out the second-seeded alliance in the quarterfinals.   Their robot, “Maleficent” was the second-highest scorer in autonomous points after Carl Hayden.   

North’s Cyborg Mustangs finished with a 4-6 record and made it to the quarter finals.  The Metro’s Knight Tech Robotics, in its first Arizona Regional appearance, was 3-7.