Woodie Flowers, national adviser to FIRST Robotics, will attend opening day of regional competition

Robotic teams storm the castles in FIRST Robotics Finger Lakes Regional March 25-26

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Woodie Flowers

Professor Woodie Flowers, as inspiring an advocate for FIRST Robotics as its founder Dean Kamen, will attend the regional on the opening day of the 2016 FIRST Robotics Finger Lakes Regional competition, 8:30 a.m. on Friday, March 25, at the Gordon Field House and Activities Center at Rochester Institute of Technology. He will be part of the opening ceremony for Stronghold, this year’s competition challenge, and be available to media from 9:15 to 10 a.m.

Flowers coined the term “gracious professionalism,” a philosophy on how FIRST students learn to work together as teammates and friendly competitors on the playing field. The professor of mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been a part of FIRST Robotics since 1990, and is part of the team that develops the unique and challenging competition games each year.

More than 40 high school teams from Rochester, the Northeast U.S.and Canada will compete at the event, now in its 25th year. This year, there are hundreds of field configurations robots must maneuver through for Stronghold. Teams will look to defend their own ‘castle keep’ while breaking down opponents’ defenses beyond a central field ‘outer-works’ drawbridge, barriers and levered entryways. Scoring takes place when lightweight boulders (the size of volleyballs) are catapulted into castle towers, and when robots cross into opponents’ territory, eventually capturing a flag atop the tower.

Teams began practice rounds on Thursday, March 24 at noon in the Field House. Competition begins on Friday, March 25 with opening ceremonies at 8:30 a.m. and first matches at 9 a.m., concluding the first day of matches at 5:45 p.m. Saturday’s competition takes place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with awards being distributed at 5:30 p.m. The full schedule of events is:

8:30 a.m., Friday, March 25 (Opening Ceremony)

Dr. Bill Destler, RIT President

Lydia Hays, RIT computer engineering student and FIRST Robotics Regional Volunteer

New York State Senator Rich Funke (R-55th Senate District)

Woodie Flowers, FIRST Robotics

9 a.m. – Noon and 1 -5:45 p.m. Qualifying Matches

5:45 p.m., Friday March 25 (End of Day 1)

Mark Conlin, president, Xerox Foundation
Erin Ferguson, RIT mechanical engineering student & FIRST Robotics Regional Volunteer
AWARDS: Volunteer of the Year

8:30 a.m., Saturday, March 26 (Start of Day 2)

Cheryl Dinolfo, Monroe County Executive

Ron Zarrella, former Bausch & Lomb, CEO and national FIRST Robotics Executive Advisory Board member

Esther Betancourt, director of engineering, Harris Corp.

9 a.m. – Noon and 1 – 4:30 p.m. Qualifying and Final Matches

4:30 p.m., Saturday, March 26 (Closing Ceremony)

FIRST Robotics Regional Leaders