Robotics team wins state chairman’s award

T.O.R.C. Chairman’s presentation team (L to R): Byron Wolf (alternate), Liam Houston (presenter), Mackenzie Funke (Chairman’s Captain, presenter), Gabe Greene (alternate), Arhely Mendoza (presenter).
T.O.R.C. Chairman’s presentation team (L to R): Byron Wolf (alternate), Liam Houston (presenter), Mackenzie Funke (Chairman’s Captain, presenter), Gabe Greene (alternate), Arhely Mendoza (presenter).

By Megan Clapsaddle

T.O.R.C. Student Team Member

Over the weekend, Oxford High School’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team, Team 2137 T.O.R.C. (The Oxford RoboCats), competed at the FRC Michigan State Championship at Saginaw Valley State University. There T.O.R.C. finished as one of the five teams to win the prestigious Chairman’s Award.

“I am especially proud of our students’ dedication to furthering STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and community involvement, which was recognized by FIRST when we won the Chairman’s award in the State competition,” said Eric Schimmel, Team Coach and Lead Mechanical Mentor.

The Chairman’s Award celebrates a team’s involvement within their community and their commitment to helping other teams. T.O.R.C. was recognized for this award because of their impact to both their local community and the world.

They accomplished this through numerous humanitarian outreach efforts, some of which included initiating a water distribution drive that offered support for the Flint water crisis and providing international aid packages to people in several countries. The team was also recognized because of their support for elementary and middle school robotics teams in Oxford. T.O.R.C. hosts events for the elementary school teams and also mentors, and provides equipment and facilities to local middle school robotics teams.

The FIRST Michigan State Championship included 160 other teams from all around Michigan. The teams qualify for the event based on their robot’s performance and the awards that they won this season.

T.O.R.C. made it to the quarterfinals before being eliminated.

“The team really displayed their overall talent this weekend. The Chairman’s award, coupled with our robot success, shows that we stayed true to our slogan. ‘We build more than robots’,” said Phil Kimmel, OHS Teacher Liaison and Drive Team Coach.

T.O.R.C. is now headed to the World Championship (April 25-28) at Cobo Hall in Detroit where they will compete against the top robotics teams in the world. They will also be presenting for the World Chairman’s Award.