Garrett County Middle School Teams Compete at Maryland Qualifier

Last Updated on Jan 25, 2016 at 8:43am |

Two Garrett County middle school robotics teams competed at the Montgomery County FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) qualification event in Rockville on Saturday, January 16, 2016.  FTC is a grade 7-12 program, so the two Garrett County teams were competing amongst high school teams. The team names were GaCo-North and GaCo-South.  GaCo is short for the Garrett Coalition.  GaCo-North ended up as the 4th seeded team at the end of the qualification rounds among the 28 teams competing.  The GaCo-North Team was represented by three seventh graders. The team’s first pick to go into elimination matches was a high school team from Sidwell Friends (where President Obama sends his children).  Their second pick was GaCo-South.  GaCo-North led their alliance into the final rounds where they lost the first match, won the second, and then lost the third match. The team ended up as finalists.
 
As a result of being the captain of the finalist alliance, the GaCo-North team was extended an invitation to compete at the State Championship on February 21, 2016, at Georgetown Prep. The success of both teams was a result of the teams working well together.  In that regard, GaCo-North has invited team members from GaCo-South to join with them as one team representing all of Garrett County. The combined team will be coached by Andrew Sauder (GaCo-South coach) and Chuck Trautwein (GaCo-North coach.)
 
This is the second year that FTC has been piloted in Garrett County as a seventh and eighth grade program, thus bridging FIRST LEGO League (FLL) in grades four through six and Garrett County’s High School FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 1629, also known as the Garrett Coalition or GaCo.  Last year, the county piloted one team with students from both Southern and Northern Middle Schools.  GaCo-North and South are sponsored by Garrett County Public Schools and FRC Team 1629.  
FTC teams build and program robots about the size of a microwave to compete on a twelve by twelve foot playing field designed to play a yearly challenge.  Matches are played in a two vrs two situation where two teams work in alliance against an opposing alliance during a two minute and thirty second time period. During the first thirty seconds of a match, robots operate in a pre-programed autonomous mode. The remaining two minutes are tele-operated by students. During a typical FTC event, teams are given the opportunity to compete in five qualification matches. After the qualification matches, the top four seeded teams invite other teams to form an alliance to go into double elimination matches.
 
The GaCo FTC North and South teams would like to congratulate FTC Team 2818 and G-Force, sponsored by 4-H and GEARS, for qualifying to compete in the Pennsylvania State Championship, which was held on January 16, 2016.  G- Force is a veteran team coached by Mrs. Arlene Lantz and Mr. Phil Malone.
 
            
 
Photo:  This was the start of an elimination match where GaCo-North and South competed
together against an opposing alliance of two high school teams. The students pictured from
left to right are Matthew Hoover, Jacob Green, Derek Skidmore, Mariah Bolden,
Tad Rodeheaver and Parker Meyer.