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Van Horn’s FTC Robotics Team Advance to the State Championship in Rolla, MO

Van Horn’s FTC Robotics Team Advance to the State Championship in Rolla, MO

Congratulations to the Van Horn CIA robotics team for their performance at the championship qualifier at UMKC.  They were finalists in four award categories including the top award of the tournament .  There are normally three finalists per award.  The team mascots, Blue Man Group, were featured in the Kansas City Star as well as other media sources.  Only six teams were selected from the tournament to advance to the state championship.  Due to the overall performance, the CIA robotics team advances on to the FTC Robotics State Championship tournament in Rolla, MO on Feb. 23rd.

Media Links:

The first link shows a slide show of pictures in which you can see Jose Palmas and Eric Trice several times (blue hats/CIA shirts), and the other is a varsity sports’ video in which you can see the Blue Man Group in action.



Description of awards the CIA robotics team were finalists in at UMKC’s FTC Robotics tournament:

Inspire Award (top award of FTC):  FIRST Tech Challenge Inspire Award:  This formally judged award is given to the team that truly embodied the ‘challenge’ of the FTC program. The team that receives this award is chosen by the judges as having best represented a ‘role model’ FIRST Tech Challenge Team. This team is a top contender for all other judging categories and is a strong competitor on the field. The Inspire Award Winner is an inspiration to other teams, acting with Gracious Professionalism both on and off the playing field. This team understands how to communicate their experiences and knowledge to other teams, sponsors, and the judges.

Guidelines for the Inspire Award

  • Team must demonstrate respect and Gracious Professionalism both for team members and fellow teams
  • Engineering Notebook must be submitted, and must impress the judges
  • Team must work beyond their robot to help spread awareness of the team, FIRST, and the FIRST Tech
  • Challenge within the community
  • Team displays good communication and teamwork skills within the team as well as with their alliances
  • Team communicates clearly about their robot design to the judges
  • Team presents themselves well in the judges interview
  • Robot effectively competes in the game challenge and impresses the judges
  • Team and Robot consistently performs well during matches
  • Team is a strong contender for all other judged awards


PTC Design Award:  This judged award recognizes design elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic. All successful robots have innovative design aspects; however, the PTC Design Award is presented to teams that incorporate industrial design elements into their solution. These design elements could simplify the robot’s appearance by giving it a clean look, be decorative in nature, or otherwise express the creativity of the team. The winning design should not compromise the practical operation of the robots but complement its purpose. This award is sponsored by Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), developers of the CAD tools, Creo and Mathcad. PTC gives licenses to the FTC student teams for these software products to help them with their designs. Use of these tools is not required to be eligible, however, teams that use them in their design are given extra consideration for this award.

Connect Award:  This judged award is given to the team that most connected with their local community and the engineering community. A true FIRST team is more than a sum of its parts, and recognizes that their schools and communities play an essential part to their success. The recipient of this award is recognized for helping the community understand FIRST, the FIRST Tech Challenge, and the team itself. The team that wins this award is aggressively seeking engineers and exploring the opportunities available in the world of engineering, science and technology.  In addition, this team has a clear fundraising goal and plan to achieve that goal.

Motivate Award:  This judged award celebrates the team that exemplifies the essence of the FIRST Tech Challenge competition through team spirit and enthusiasm. They show their spirit through costumes and fun outfits, a team cheer or outstanding spirit. This team has also made a collective effort to make FIRST known throughout their school and community.