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High School Teams from Nine States Prepare Robots to Meet Challenge at Crossroads FIRST Robotics Regional

February 27, 2014

Carmel Robot

Competitive Regional: The TechHOUNDS team from Indiana’s Carmel High School helped form the winning alliance at last year’s Crossroads Regional. (Photo by Chris Minnick)

Dean Kamen, signing autographs

Inspiring Others: Inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST Robotics in 1989 to motivate youths to become the science, technology, engineering, and math leaders of the future. (Photo by Steve Voltmer)


Popular Event: Last year’s first Crossroads Regional attracted persons of all ages to watch the robots test the power of collaboration and innovation. All events in the Sports and Recreation Center on March 6-8 are free and open to the public.

High School students and their robots will descend upon Rose-Hulman on March 6-8 for FIRST Robotics’ Crossroads Regional. Forty-five teams from nine states work together for awards, college scholarships, and personal satisfaction in the premier international youth robotics event.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) brings the excitement of a sporting event to science and technology through a robotics competition. Under tight guidelines, limited resources and time restrictions, teams of high-school students build and program robots from a common kit of parts to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. Teams measure the effectiveness of their robots and test the power of collaboration during the regional round of the competition.

“This is the sport of the future, and may be the hardest fun game that these kids have ever played,” stated FIRST Founder Dean Kamen while visiting last year’s Crossroads Regional. He received an honorary doctorate from Rose-Hulman in 2012. “Rose-Hulman has become a true partner in my mission to help young people become scientists and engineers,” Kamen said.

This year’s game, Aerial Assist, is played by two competing alliances of three robots each on a flat 25 foot-by-54 foot field, straddled by a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor. The objective is to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two-minute and 30-second match. The more alliances score their ball in their goals, and the more they work together to do it, the more points their alliance receives.

“There is nothing else like FIRST Robotics,” says Rose-Hulman President Jim Conwell, who served as a judge at last year’s regional. “FIRST is an organization that shares common goals with Rose-Hulman—we both celebrate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). We want young people to know that STEM is cool and fun. Rose-Hulman is proud to encourage this by hosting this regional competition.”

Rose-Hulman is one of 54 regional host sites to qualify for the FIRST Championship on April 24-26 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Teams will bring their robots from as far away as Eldersburg, Maryland (Baltimore); Somerville, Alabama (Huntsville); Paola, Kansas (Kansas City); and Brookfield/Sussex, Wisconsin (Milwaukee) to compete in this year’s event. A total of 24 Indiana teams are participating, led by defending regional alliance champions Carmel High School (TechHOUNDS) and Indianapolis’ Perry Meridian High School (Cyber Blue). A local robot built by Vigo County high school students who were mentored by 10 Rose-Hulman students, will be one of two rookie teams in the regional.

Teams will arrive early on Thursday, March 6, and begin practice (10 a.m. to noon; 1-4:30 p.m.) on the competition field in Rose-Hulman’s Sports and Recreation Center. Qualifying rounds are scheduled on Friday, March 7 (9 a.m. to noon; 1-5:45 p.m.). Final qualifying matches will be on Saturday, March 8 (9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.), with alliances being selected (12:15-12:30 p.m.) for the final rounds (1:30-4:30 p.m.). The awards ceremony will follow at 4:30 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

“We’re excited to welcome teams once again to compete in the sport of the mind that uses robots to inspire young people and celebrate engineering,” says Crossroads Regional Chair Carlotta Berry, PhD, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rose-Hulman. “Last year’s inaugural Crossroads Regional was an overwhelming success and we have planned even more things for the participating students, team mentors, event volunteers, and general public. This will be a celebration of creativity and innovation.”

Follow news about the Crossroads Regional on social media (Facebook: Crossroads Regional; Twitter: @FIRSTCrossroads).

FIRST is supported by three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and will offer more than $19 million in college scholarships this year. An independent study revealed that FIRST alumni are more than twice as likely to have a science- or technology-related career after college and more than three times as likely to pursue a career in engineering.

Events are free and open to the public; public restrictions around team pit areas in fieldhouse.

Follow along with the competition by watching our live video feed or with #FIRSTCrossroads.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014  
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm   5 Team Reps to Load In
Thursday, March 6, 2014  
7:45 am
8:30 am
8:30 am
10:00 am - 12:00 Noon 
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
1:00 pm - 4:30 pm 
8:00 pm
  5 Team Reps to Load In
Pits and Machine Shop OPEN
Registration and Robot Inspection Start
Practice Rounds
Practice Rounds
Pits and Machine Shop CLOSE
Friday, March 7, 2014  

8:00 am 
8:30 am - 9:00 am
9:00 am - 12:00 Noon 
12:00 Noon - 1:00 pm 
1:00 pm - 5:45 pm 
5:45 pm - 6:30 pm
7:00 pm 


Pits and Machine Shop OPEN
Opening Ceremonies
Qualification Matches
Qualification Matches
Awards Ceremony
Pits and Machine Shop CLOSE

Saturday, March 8, 2014

8:00 am 
8:30 am - 9:00
9:00 am - 12:15 pm 
12:15 pm - 12:30 pm
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
6:30 pm 

  Pits and Machine shop OPEN
Opening Ceremonies
Qualification Matches
Alliance Selections
Final Rounds
Awards Ceremony
Pits close; crates packed

By the Numbers: Crossroads Regional

  • Number of Teams: 45
  • Total Students: +1,300
  • Total Mentors/Adult Volunteers: +250
  • States Represented: 9
  • Indiana Cities Represented: Anderson, Avon, Bloomington, Carmel, Columbus, Crown Point, Danville, Hammond, Indianapolis, Jasper, Kokomo, Lafayette, Mishawaka, Munster, New Carlisle, Petersburg, Shelbyville, Terre Haute, West Lafayette

By the Numbers: 2014 FIRST Robotics

  • Founded: 1989 by Innovator Dean Kamen
  • Total Students: 68,000
  • Total Teams: 2,720
  • Scholarships Awarded: $19 million from 900 scholarship opportunities from more than 150 scholarship providers
  • Total Mentors/Adult Volunteers: +64,000
  • Total Other Volunteers: +66,000
  • Number of Regional Events: 54