Royal robots shoot their way to nationals

  • Tue Mar 27th, 2012 7:08pm

<b>SCHOOLS | </b>By Alejandro Dominguez Herald writer

LYNNWOOD — The students with Lynnwood High School’s Royal Robotics team were nervous.

This was their fifth time competing at an event organized by the national nonprofit For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, which aims to encourage school-age children to pursue careers in engineering, science and math.

Last weekend, more than 90 teams had to build a robot to play basketball at Rebound Rumble, which was held at CenturyLink Events Center in Seattle.

Lynnwood’s Royal Robotics had trouble with their robots in the past, but this time, it was different: They earned sixth place at the Seattle Cascade Regional division.

“I’m feeling completely on cloud nine,” Lynnwood High junior Sara-Beth Burkett said. “I can’t believe it.”

Besides getting their best place ever, the team also won the Engineering Inspiration Award, recognizing the team’s robot design, recruitment of students to engineering and community volunteering. The team is comprised mostly of Lynnwood High students as well as students from other schools in the Edmonds School District.

This award guaranteed them a slot at the national championship held April 26-28, in St. Louis, Mo.

Now the 31-member team is trying to figure out how to raise enough funds for the trip. The award gives them a trophy and medals and it means that a $5,000 entry fee will be waived. Still, the team needs money for lodging and travel.

From sponsors and fundraisers, the Lynnwood team already has enough money to send some of their group to St. Louis, but not all, said Sara-Beth, 17.

“We really want everybody to experience the championship because all participated,” she said.

About 10 teams from Snohomish and Island counties participated in this tournament, including Edmonds-Woodway and Mountlake Terrace high schools.

Every team had six weeks to design and build a robot for a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Students spent hundreds of work hours on this after-school project.

In total, there are about 2,500 students participating in the event from schools in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, and even Turkey and Mexico.

Nan Van Klaveren, mother of two members of the Lynnwood team, said they are excited about competing at the national level and happy about their robot’s performance. Their success is also emotional because of all the hours they spent after school.

“This is really big,” she said. “They did a lot of extra work that went above and beyond of actually building the robot.”

Lend a hand

People can help send the Royal Robotics team to Nationals at http://royalrobotics.org. Donations can be made to the team using their official name, Team 2522, when donating through the organizer’s website.