Camas, Washougal, Hockinson students join top robotics alliance (with video)

County teens share regional title, prepare for nationals

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High school robot builders from Camas, Washougal and Hockinson who make up the Team Mean Machine won a trip to nationals Saturday when their three-team alliance won the regional championship in Portland.

Team Mean Machine and its robot, "Odd Job," were selected by top-seeded team CV Robotics from Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis, Ore., to ally with it and a team from Tahoma High School in Maple Valley after a day and a half of preliminary competition at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, said Jason Love, a volunteer spokesman for the event.

This year's challenge is "Ultimate Ascent," a robot version of disc golf. "Ascent" refers to an additional portion of the challenge, designing a machine that also can scale a pyramid-shaped jungle gym.

Love, who works for Waggener Edstrom, a Lake Oswego, Ore., high-tech public relations firm, said the alliance won the regional championship in a best-of-three finals round.

The alliance lost the first round and narrowly won the second to stay alive before winning the tiebreaker convincingly to clinch the win.

The national championships are scheduled for April 24-27 in St. Louis.

The 59 entrants include three other local teams: the Green Wrenches, from Evergreen, Heritage, Mountain View and Union high schools; the StormBots, from Vancouver's Skyview High; and the CloverBots 4-H Club.

All the teams got the same sets of parts a couple of months ago when Evergreen High hosted this area's challenge kickoff. How the teams assembled the parts was up to them.