WHEA battles in Hawaii robotics finals; Kealakehe, Kohala headed for Missouri Championships

Waialua, Baldwin and Island Pacific Academy Crowned Regional Champions

By ROC Hawaii

HONOLULU – After an exhilirating three rounds in the finals of the 2012 FIRST in Hawaii Regional Robotics Competition, the Red Alliance consisting of Waialua High School (Oahu), Baldwin High School (Maui) and Island Pacific Academy (Oahu) outscored the Blue Alliance consisting of Punahou School (Oahu), West Hawaii Exploratory Academy (Big Island) and McKinley High School (Oahu) with a score of 48 to 41.

The Red Alliance took an early lead by winning round one. The Blue Alliance answered back, taking round two.

In a classic matchup, it all came down to the final round. Waialua, the defending champions, led the Red Alliance to an early lead; however, McKinley High School picked up speed and began making basket after basket.

As the seconds counted down, Baldwin and Island Pacific made their way to the Bridge to balance and score the final blow to win the match, as the Blue Alliance maneuvered two bots from Punahou and West Hawaii to successfully balance on their own bridge and even the score.

In an exciting last 15 seconds, Baldwin and Island Pacific teetered on the Bridge and their robots flipped over, effectively taking them out of the match. McKinley raced to make baskets, but could not hold on as the buzzer sounded, and the Red Alliance came out victorious.

“These teams were tough, but we came together and pulled through,” Jandie Sabo, a member of Waialua’s Robotics team. “To come out on top again, with our Alliance, is a feeling like no other, especially since it is my senior year.”

Attended by fans, families, educators and industry leaders, the FIRST in Hawaii Regional Robotics Competition sponsored by BAE Systems awarded several teams with honors that rewarded design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship and high impact partnerships between schools, businesses and communities.

Held March 22-24 at the Stan Sheriff Center, the 38 high school student teams competed to earn a spot at the FIRST Championship held April 25-28, 2012, in St. Louis, Mo.

Representing Hawaii at the 2012 FIRST Championships will be:

  • Baldwin High School
  • Island Pacific Academy
  • Kealakehe High School
  • Kohala High School
  • Waialua High School

“Every year student competitors amaze everyone with their teamwork and outstanding technical skills. The Championship teams will represent Hawaii well in the FIRST Championship in April,” said Shelley Rowley, co-chair of FIRST in Hawaii Regional. “The energy in Stan Sheriff this week was electric, and I know we will see the passion for STEM continue into our community’s across the state, and most importantly, in the classroom.”

With the hope of winning one of the several coveted awards, high school students worked with professional mentors to design and build a robot over a six week period that solved a problem using a kit of parts and a standard set of rules.

This year’s game, “Robot Rumble,” had robots participating in a basketball-style game where teams had two corner and two center goals to throw balls into.

Several awards were given out after the competition, including FIRST’s most prestigious award – The Chairman’s Award.

Industrial Design Award (sponsored by General Motors): Hot Rocks (#1056), Waiakea High School

Quality Award (sponsored by Motorola): The Hawaiian Kids (#359), Waialua High School

Gracious Professionalism Award (sponsored by Johnson & Johnson): The Kauai Bots (#2465), Kauai

Team Spirit Award (sponsored by Chrysler): The Cool Geeks (#2348), Moanalua High School

Coopertition Award: The MechaMoncarchs (#2896), Damien School

Judge’s Award: The Green Label Zealots (#1378), Hilo High School

Rookie All Star Award: TAS Robotics (#4253), Taipei

Highest Rookie Seed Award: Crders (#4270), Saint Louis School

Safety Advisor Team: Searider Robotics (#3685), Waianae High School

Engineering Inspiration Award: Kealakehe High School Robo Riders (#3880), Kona

FIRST Dean’s List Finalist (sponsored by BAE Systems): Michael Nelson (#2460, Kohala High), Ryan Matsumoto (#2348, Moanalua High)

Regional Chairman’s Award: The Falcons of Kalani High School (#3008)

From West Hawaii Explorations Academy’s team:

A small charter school in Kona, West Hawaii Explorations Academy (WHEA), in its second year competing made it to the finals in the Hawaii Regional and came so close to winning. We ended up coming in second, allied with Mckinley High’s Team Kika Mana and Punahou’s Team BuffnBlue!

It was a best of three match, we won the first 50-46, lost the second 68-56, and then lost the last 41-48.  It was a great final that was not decided until the last moment!

It was an amazing accomplishment!

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