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South Eugene High's Robotics Team Goes To Global Battle-Bots Competition

Brian Bull

An epic, worldwide battle of robots has drawn local high schoolers to Texas. KLCC’s Brian Bull caught up with one robotics team as it prepared to leave this morning.

The South Eugene Robotics Team (SERT) is off to Houston, where they’ll face off against 400 teams in what’s called the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
A close-up of the practice robot's innards. The actual battle 'bot and its components were shipped ahead to Houston earlier this month.

Team mentor Lallie McKenzie says it’s been three years since they’ve competed at this level.

“It’s a very, very big deal," McKenzie tells KLCC. "We get to compete with and against some of the best teams in the world.”

SERT member Alyssa Jao explains this year’s theme.

“It’s called ‘First Power Up’, it’s all themed around those old arcade games," she says.

"You have two see-saw like things, and one’s taller, one’s shorter, and you try to keep control of yours while battling for the scale.”

Senior Alex Chamberlain describes their robot’s design.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
A close-up of SERT's robot's wheels and gears.

“It’s got the drive train, lets it drive around. It’s got the lift mechanism, and also has a climbing mechanism.” (BULL: How long did it take your team to build this?) “It took us six weeks.”

Pleasant Hill students are also headed to Houston, for the FIRST Tech Challenge Competition.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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