OHS robotics team wins engineering inspiration award

Team 2137 TORC competes at a district event in Belleville.
Team 2137 TORC competes at a district event in Belleville.

By Megan Clapsaddle

TORC Student Team Member

Oxford High School’s FIRST® Robotics Competition team, Team 2137 TORC (The Oxford Robo Cats), from Oxford, MI, competed at the FIRST in Michigan Belleville District Event at Belleville High School in Belleville, MI, where they won the Engineering Inspiration Award and placed 14th overall with their robot.

The prestigious Engineering Inspiration Award recognizes a team for outstanding success in promoting respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s community. TORC was specifically recognized for this award because of the work they do with supporting the younger teams within their community.

To spread the message of FIRST to younger students in their schools, TORC created the Oxford FIRST Feeder System, which gets elementary students involved in FIRST and engineering and keeps them involved through high school.

As a team, they host Robocat Rumble, a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and Jr. FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) event for students in elementary school. Additionally, TORC supports middle school students in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) by mentoring, providing facilities and equipment to help them build their robots and judging at the FTC event.

The award also recognized TORC for their efforts outside of their local community where the team is involved in numerous humanitarian efforts, including canned food drives, donating toiletries for walkers of the Susan G. Komen Walk for a Cure, volunteering for a soup kitchen, and sending international aid packages.

This is the second award TORC has won this season recognizing the team’s effort to make an impact. At the FIRST in Michigan Waterford District Event at Waterford Mott High School on March 10 TORC also won the FIRST Chairman’s Award. This is FIRST’s most prestigious award and recognizes the team for their sustained impact on their community and world.

“I am proud to be associated with such a great group of students that work year round to advance their understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and actively pass their knowledge on to others in the community,” said Eric Schimmel, Team Coach and Mentor. “The Chairman’s and the Engineering Inspiration Awards earned together in the same robotics season is an obvious recognition of their commitment and success.”

The Belleville competition included 40 other teams from all around Michigan. During alliance selections, TORC was selected by the first place team to join the number one alliance. The alliance included Team 2834 the Bionic Black Hawks, from Bloomfield Hills and Team 5619 the Jaguars from Detroit. In quarterfinals play, the first match was a win for the alliance, but the second match was a nail biter that ended with a loss.

The alliance was eliminated from going to semifinals with another loss in the tie-breaker match.

“I am continually amazed at the students’ efforts and teamwork as they faced many adversities this weekend,” said Scott McBride, Team Coach and Mentor.

TORC is now headed to the Michigan State Championships (April 12-14) at Saginaw Valley State University to compete with not only their robot, but also for the State Chairman’s and Engineering Inspiration Awards.