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BotsIQ competition held at California University of Pennsylvania

| Saturday, April 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Southmoreland High School students senior Jacob McNiece (left) and junior Kyle Gazda, work to secure the exterior of their robot, The B.A.R, during the Southwestern Pennsylvania Bots IQ SWPA Regional Competition held at California University of Pennsylvania recently. Students with Southmoreland High School participate in a one-semester class as well as an extracurricular club where they work on building a robot, geared to battle another robot, and uses an array of defensive as well as offensive mechanics to win.

Nearly 50 teams participated in the eighth annual BotsIQ at California University of Pennsylvania recently.

Students from across the region entered the robots that they designed and built in this high-tech battle.

But it was Clairton High School's robot, Bazinga, that crushed the competition for top honors.

The grand champion award recognizes the team with the best overall performance in the competition, documentation and team interviews.

It's been eight years since the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Tooling & Machining Association and a committed group of manufacturers and educators brought BotsIQ to Southwestern Pennsylvania. Known as “The Smart Sport,” BotsIQ begins with a preliminary competition, this year at Westmoreland County Community College, and culminates in a two-day, gladiator-style battle to the finish of student-made, remote-controlled robots.

The NTMA was instrumental in bringing BotsIQ to Southwestern Pennsylvania in 2006. Students love BotsIQ because it makes education fun — drawing on their knowledge of math, science, engineering and even public speaking.

Educators love BotsIQ because of the enthusiasm it sparks in their students and the resources it provides to their classroom. But, it's the manufacturing industry that is standing behind this “smart sport” because of the potential impact it has on business. Young people who are interested in how things are made are the future of the high-tech manufacturing workforce.

Clairton High School received a traveling trophy, team ribbons and a $1,000 award from the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Tooling & Machining Association.

Second place honors for 2013 go to Eastern Westmoreland CTC with their bot Pandemonium.

There was a tie for “Coolest Bot” honors between Clairton High School (Mega Nuke) and Plum High School (Still N' Shock II). Clairton High School was awarded “Best Sportsmanship.”

The students of Fayette County CTI with their bot The Grave Digger won “Best Engineered Bot” and “Best Engineering Documentation.”

Norwin High School with its bot ‘MERICA took home the distinction of “King of the Ring” after winning the final bot rumble and Bedford High School with its bot Slenderbot was named “Best Rookie Team.”

Graduating seniors Mikayla Baker of Eastern Westmoreland CTC and Haley Morella of Greater Latrobe Senior High School each won a $500 scholarship toward their future careers in manufacturing, the trades or engineering for their essay submissions.

Local schools which competed in 2013 were: Albert Gallatin Senior High School, Brownsville Area High School, Eastern Westmoreland CTC, Fayette County CTI, Frazier High School and Southmoreland High School.

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