RoboCats qualify for world championships

An area robotics team will soon compete in the World Championships.

The Girard RoboCats emerged victorious in Cincinnati on Saturday, taking first place at the Queen City Regional robotics tournament.

“In my 14 years of coaching, I’ve never been as impressed with my team during the first competition of the season,” said coach Judy Barber.

“We have a young team, so I expected this to be a learning weekend and a growing weekend. They really impressed me with their enthusiasm, spirit, organization and drive … and it paid off for them. They worked hard to get here,” she said.

Out of 52 teams competing, the RoboCats were seeded third going 8-2 in qualifying matches and 6-0 in elimination matches for the win.

Delphi E.L.I.T.E. of Warren and FalcoTech of Austintown were among semi-finalists in the competition.

The RoboCats also took home awards for their safety program, as well as the Innovation in Control Award, which is given for a creative robot design component.

“Ours was in recognition of autonomous mode,” Barber said, explaining that the robot was preprogrammed to complete a task the first 15 seconds of the match. Their robot shot three frisbees that it held in the beginning of the match and then picked up four more frisbees from the floor and threw them.

“There are fewer than ten teams in the nation that can do that,” she said.

Other recognitions include mentor Denny McBride, who was nominated for the Woody Flowers Award, and Dean’s List Award nominees Megan Avey and Anthony Esposito.

In addition to Barber, the team received guidance from Ashraf Hadi, Build Team coach; Michelle Coggins, assistant coach; Mark Plant, Drive Team coach; and mentors Mark Walker and Joseph Jeswald.

Sponsors for the Girard team included Interstate Shredding; GIRARD Homecoming Committee; S.P. Wright, Poorest of the Poor Program and Girard-Liberty Rotary Club and Millwood Industry.

The team hopes to obtain sponsors to fund the upcoming trip to the World Championship to be held in St. Louis, Mo., April 24 to 27.