|The Eagan High School robotics team (2220 Blue Twilight) advanced to the semifinal round of the FIRST Robotics North Star regional competition March 29-30 at Mariucci Arena and won the Engineering Inspiration Award, which qualifies them for the FIRST Robotics national championship event April 26-28 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. This will be Eagan's second trip to nationals in the last five years.
Also at the North Star regional, team advisor Jim Lynch received the prestigious Woodie Flowers Award, which is presented to a teacher or engineer participating in robotics competition who best demonstrates excellence in teaching science, math and creative design. Lynch was advisor to the robotics team when it started at Eagan in 2007 and has built it into the largest high school robotics program in the state. He is lauded for welcoming all students, helping to resolve barriers to their participation and his belief that any student, regardless of background, can be an asset to the team.
There are 61 student members of Team 2220 Blue Twilight this year. Following nationals, Eagan will compete in the Minnesota State High School League's inaugural robotics state tournament, scheduled for Saturday, May 19 inside Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota.
The FIRST Robotics competition challenges teams of students and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard kit of parts and a common set of rules. This year's challenge is called Rebound Rumble, a game where robots shoot basketballs into hoops of different heights during each 2 minute and 15 second match. (Eagan's 2220 robot is pictured shooting basketballs during the North Star regional.) Balls scored in higher hoops score more points. Teams are rewarded for excellence in the design of their robot, demonstrated team spirit, gracious professionalism and maturity, and ability to overcome obstacles. Scoring the most points is a secondary goal.
Minnesota's FIRST Robotics program has grown from just two teams to 154 teams during the last six years, surpassing Texas this year to become the third largest state program in the country. FIRST Robotics seeks to inspire high school students to pursue future careers in science and technology by creating a fun, varsity sport-like experience. Minnesota FIRST has adopted the motto, "Where the robots are good-looking and all of the teams are above average."