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Team captain Jasmine Zhou, mentor Mike Coresetto and driver Takumi Kawaguchi control the team's robot at UC Davis. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

Next Generation

Citrus Circuits rules at robotics competition

By From page A10 | March 18, 2014

Citrus Circuits is on a roll.

The team of Davis junior high and high school students dominated the competition at the Sacramento Regional FIRST Robotics competition over the weekend, winning the final match 226-87 before a hometown crowd at the UC Davis ARC Pavilion. This is the third time in four years that Citrus Circuits took home the title of Sacramento Regional champions.

The win — which came against more than 50 other teams — comes on the heels of a victory last month at the Inland Empire Regional that guaranteed the team a fourth straight trip to the world championships in St. Louis in April, where the team finished in the final four last year.

Heading into the weekend competition at UCD, Citrus Circuits was ranked second in California and 13th in the world — in a field of thousands of teams.

FIRST Robotics was started by Segway inventor Dean Kamen as a way to encourage student interest in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The competition involves teams of students from around the world building robots using identical kits of components, as well as their own add-ons. Teams receive their kits — as well as learn what game their robots will be playing — in January and have six weeks to design and build a robot.

In previous years, teams have built robots that threw Frisbees, shot basketballs and played soccer. This year, robots are throwing large exercise balls through hoops as well as earning points by throwing balls over a truss and catching balls thrown by alliance members. The robots are operated remotely by students.

Citrus Circuits has been participating in the competition since 2005, under the guidance and coaching of Da Vinci teacher Steve Harvey, and this year is captained by Davis High student Jasmine Zhou.

And though participation on the team has been an extracurricular activity up until now, the school board is expected to give final approval next month for an elective robotics course that will be taught by Harvey. The course will be open to all students in grades 9-12 and participation on the Citrus Circuits team will be a mandatory component of the class.

This year’s team will have one last regional competition before heading to St. Louis next month. The team will compete in the Silicon Valley Regional, to be held at San Jose State University, April 3-5. Learn more and watch the competition streaming live at http://www.citruscircuits.org.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

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