University of Maryland Extension

Maryland Teams Place First and Second in Worldwide Robotics Competition

The Techno Clovers pose with their robot. Front Row: Megan Gotsch, Miranda Bender; Back row: Kevin Maust, Scott Brenneman, Alexander Savopoulos, Tim Gotsch, Eric Beitzel, Jeffrey Bender, and Justin Maust
Image Credit: 
Cindy Maust

Two teams of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ 4-H youth development program placed in the FIRST Federal Trade Commission Competition in St. Louis, Missouri.

FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a worldwide robotics organization, and the FTC’s FIRST Tech Challenge encourages high school students to build a robot that will fit into an 18-inch by 18-inch box. Robots must perform several pre-programmed tasks, then the student drive team drives the robot for two minutes. This year, more than 3,200 teams from 29 countries competed in the world competition.

The Techno Clover team from Garret County won first place in the World Championship. Its winning three-team alliance was partnered with Hot Wired from Portland, Oregon and Eagle Robotics XPerience from Delray Beach, Florida. The alliance did not lose a match in either the semi-finals or the finals. The team’s members included:

Eric Beitzel, a senior who will attend Rosedale Bible College Megan Gotsch, a senior who will study computer science at the University of Maryland next year and has been accepted into the Honors Program Tim Gotsch, who also plans to study computer science at the University of Maryland and has been accepted into the Honors Program Kevin Maust, a senior who will study electrical engineering at Garrett College Alexander Savopoulos, who also plans to study electrical engineering at Garret College next year Jeffrey Bender, a junior who aspires to be a football coach, and Scott Brenneman, a junior who plans to become an electrical engineer.

The Green Machine team from Howard County was part of the alliance that won second place in the competition. The team was allied with Cougar Robotics from Colombus, Ohio and RedNek Robotics Wun from Sun River, Montana. All five Green Machine team members will attend college next year as follows:

Joshua Driesman, who will attend Northeastern University to study computer science and business Morin French, who will complete her senior year of high school at Howard County Community College Aidan Merryman, who will attend the Savannah College of Art and Design to study animation Jeremy School, who will attend the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to study computer science, and John Yalov, who will study civil engineering at the United States Coast Guard Academy.

Overall, University of Maryland Extension is proud of its contributions to STEM education, is excited about the teams’ success, and wishes all participating students the best of luck in their future endeavors. 

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