FIRST Robotics Regional Event Takes Place March 5–6 at RIT Field House

Students from more than 40 schools compete in Breakaway, this year’s challenge

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A. Sue Weisler

The annual FIRST Robotics competition brings together high school students, faculty, mentors, friends and fans to the technology Super Bowl. Teams from the Northeast will compete in one of the largest regional meets to determine representatives to the national championship in Atlanta in April.

Hundreds of colorful and enthusiastic competitors will bring their distinctive robots to the Gordon Field House on the campus of Rochester Institute of Technology for the 2010 Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics competition. More than 40 teams will compete in Breakaway, the name of this year’s competition.

The FIRST competition opens with preliminary rounds at 9 a.m. March 5. The first day of the event matches conclude at 4:30 p.m. The final round of seeded matches begin at 9 a.m. March 6. Awards will be given to winning teams at 4:30 p.m. that day. The event is free and open to the public for both days.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international sporting event and technology competition. Regional events take place in all 50 states and around the world. Winners from each of the regional events qualify for the championship in Atlanta in April.

This year, Paul Gudonis, FIRST president, will be attending the event on March 6, joining guest speakers and local sponsors: Bill Destler, RIT president; John Sheets, chief technology officer, Bausch & Lomb; Terry Tabor, chief technology officer, Kodak; Jean Claude Brizard, superintendent, Rochester City Schools; Ed Maier, vice president/general manager, engineering and operations, Harris Corp. RF Communications; and Maggie Brooks, Monroe County executive.

As FIRST President, Gudonis brings 25 years of leadership experience in the information technology and communications industries. He has a background in wireless, Internet and e-learning software and services. In his role as a technology industry executive, Gudonis has taken an active, leadership role on issues such as education, broadband deployment and innovation. He has served as chairman of the Massachusetts High Technology Council and is a member of TechNet, a national organization of technology industry CEOs committed to increasing the number of science and engineering graduates in the United States.

Note: Complete event schedule and information about the new competition challenge can be found at and