PORTLAND, Ore. - An alliance that included Maui High came within in a win of earning a spot in the international FIRST Robotics Championships at the Oregon Regional late last week.
Alas, a three-robot balancing act in the final match propelled the three-team alliance of Trout Lake School and Bertollinos & Bellarmine Prep of Washington state and Santiam Christian School of Oregon to a 56-47 victory over the Maui High alliance to capture the regional and the berth in the championships to be held in St. Louis in late April.
The maneuver was worth 40 points and turned a deficit to a lead in the final match of the regionals. The Maui High alliance, which also included Aviation High School and Tacoma Senior High School, both of Washington state, had won the first match of the best-of-three finals convincingly 68-6, but after a timeout to repair field communication issues, the alliance fell 52-43, setting up the final match.
Maui High 10th-grader Wyman Tong uses his arm movements to drive the team robot using the Xbox Kinect during the first match of the best of three finals at the Oregon Robotics Regional. Maui High’s alliance won the first match but lost the next two.
KEITH IMADA photo
"They were the only alliance to do this move (the three-team balance) during the tournament," said Keith Imada, co-adviser for the Maui High team along with Neill Nakamura in an email. "It was difficult to lose after winning the first match in the finals and coming so close in the last two matches. The last two finals matches were hard fought and could have gone either way."
The Oregon Regional was held March 8 to 10 in the Portland Memorial Coliseum.
Baldwin High also entered a team in the regional. The Bears were selected by the fourth-ranked alliance for the elimination rounds and won its quarterfinal match, before falling to the eventual championship alliance.
The Baldwin alliance included Riverview & Camas High School and Washougal High School of Washington state and Ferry High School of Idaho.
Both Baldwin and Maui finished 6-3-0 in the qualifying matches; Baldwin ended being ranked 22nd and Maui High, 30th.
The Baldwin alliance won its single-elimination quarterfinal match, 53-19; before losing in the best of three semifinals, 52-39 and 72-52.
The Maui High alliance won its quarterfinal match, 45-13, and in the semifinals, 38-6 and 56-31.
"In the first finals match, they could not balance all three robots," said Imada of the winning alliance. "That is why the score was so one sided. Our alliance could only balance two robots on our bridge. This move is worth only 20 points. Our alliance just could not score enough baskets during the match to outscore the winning teams three-robot balance.
"Our kids worked hard and well with our partners, but in the end we just came up a few baskets short," he said.