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Fourteen Gorge teams advance to state robotics tournament

The Henkle Middle School “The Gears” robotics team is one of 14 team heading to Hillsboro, Ore., for the Oregon State Tournaments on Jan. 9 or 10. Team members include (l-r): Crimson Willey, Hayley Skaar, Emmalee Wood, Cristian Morris, Steven Macrum. The team is coached by Henkle Middle School Science teacher Mike Hannigan.

Mike Hannigan
The Henkle Middle School “The Gears” robotics team is one of 14 team heading to Hillsboro, Ore., for the Oregon State Tournaments on Jan. 9 or 10. Team members include (l-r): Crimson Willey, Hayley Skaar, Emmalee Wood, Cristian Morris, Steven Macrum. The team is coached by Henkle Middle School Science teacher Mike Hannigan.



Over 300 kids aged 9 to 14 from schools all around the Gorge showed off their robotic talents the last two weekends as part of the international robotics competition known as FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL).

Fifty-three student teams worked over the past several months to compete in one of the Columbia Gorge Qualifying Tournaments held Dec. 5 at The Dalles Middle School and Dec. 12 and 13 at Wy’east Middle School.

These events are held locally by the Gorge Technology Alliance (GTA) with support from Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, North Wasco County School District 21, Hood River County School District, Hood River County Education Foundation and White Salmon Valley Education Foundation.

At the Gorge FLL tournaments, teams demonstrated their robot’s capabilities on the competition table, were interviewed by a robot design panel, presented their Trash Trek research project and were assessed on teamwork skills in the FLL Core Values judging panel.

The teams impressed the judges, referees and tournament volunteers with their knowledge and teamwork. Each single-day tournament generates its own separate award winners and several teams that will advance to the state tournaments.

Henkle Middle School, under the coaching of science teacher Mike Hannigan, fielded three teams in the tournaments. All three received trophies. The Gorge FLL award winners from all three tournaments include:

• Rising Star award: Westside Bigfoot Inc. from Westside Elementary, Fluffy Pink Unicorns from Mid Valley Elementary.

• Core Values award: Ike Iha from Trout Lake School, Trash Talkers from Westside Elementary, W.I.T Don’t Panic from May Street Elementary.

• Project award: Iha Ike from Trout Lake School, Couch Potatoes from Henkle Middle School, May Street Robo-Dragons from May Street Elementary.

• Robot Design award: Fusion X from Wasco County 4H/The Dalles Middle School, Jawas from Henkle Middle School, Bell-BOTt-oms from May Street Elementary.

• Robot Performance award: Pandroids from Wy’east Middle School, Eco Ninjas from Goldendale Middle School, Nuclear Recyclers from May Street Elementary.

After a full day of competition, the overall top teams were chosen to advance to the Oregon State Tournaments on Jan. 9 or 10 in Hillsboro.

The 14 teams from the Gorge heading to Hillsboro include:

• Overall 1st Place Champions: League of LEGOs from Horizon Christian School, Banana Bot Builders from Fisher’s Landing neighborhood (Vancouver), Hood River Brick Bots – a Hood River neighborhood team.

• Overall 2nd Place Champions: Pandroids from Wy’east Middle School, The Gears from Henkle Middle School, Nuclear Recyclers from May Street Elementary.

• Additional top teams that advanced to the state tournament: Iha Ike from Trout Lake School, Fusion X and System Overload from Wasco County 4H, Eco Ninjas from Goldendale Middle School, Bottle Busters and Trash Busters from Klickitat Schools, W.I.T. Don’t Panic from May Street Elementary, Techno Salmon – a Hood River neighborhood team.



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