Penn State York to host robotics competition Jan. 29

Penn State York will host the FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) South Central PA Regional Qualifier, a robotics competition, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, in the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center at the campus.  Eighteen teams with up to 10 members each from as far away as South Carolina and as near as York Suburban High School are registered for the event. The GET OVER IT! competition features a task-oriented robotics competition where teams are asked to perform a variety of maneuvers with their robots. The competition is open to the public to watch.

The event in York is one of four qualifiers in Pennsylvania leading to the FTC PA State Robotics Championship in Weatherly, Pa., on March 5. The other sites are Penn State Erie, The Behrend College; The Pennsylvania College of Technology; and Montgomery County Community College. The acronym FIRST means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology and the organization was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, an accomplished inventor, who wanted to inspire young people to appreciate science and technology.

“Team members are part of an alliance trying to perform tasks on the field with their robots,” said Stephen Kew-Goodale, event coordinator for FTC.  “We emphasize gracious professionalism with winning or losing not the important things.  Winning is nice but the design process is the important thing.  We expect teams to help each other and develop friendships and camaraderie throughout the competition,” he said.

Penn State York students, faculty and staff will work as volunteers during the competition filling a variety of roles from judges to field tech advisers, scorekeepers, software inspectors and more. Throughout the competition teams are judged on their sportsmanship, performance of their robots, completion of tasks, following the rules and a variety of other criteria. Students in grades seven to 12 take part in the competition.

Marshall F. Coyle, associate professor of engineering at Penn State York, is the volunteer coordinator for the event, and has worked to fill the many positions necessary to make the competition possible.

“I am really excited about the FTC event!  Our campus is a great place to have one of the qualifiers and Penn State York students, faculty, and staff have stepped-up to help,” said Coyle.

For more information on the FTC qualifiers including teams registered, visit  For more information on FIRST, visit their website at

Schedule for the Day:

8-9 a.m.                   Team Registration
8:15-10:30 a.m.       Robot Judging and Inspection
9:15-10 a.m.            Coaches Meeting
9:30-10 a.m.            Opening Ceremonies
10-10:45 a.m.          Open Practices
11 a.m. to noon        Competition Rounds
Noon-1 p.m.             Lunch Break
1-4 p.m.                   Competition Rounds
4-4:15 p.m.              Alliance Selections
4:15-6:15 p.m.         Quarter Finals, Semi Finals, and Finals
6:30-7 p.m.              Award Ceremonies and Closing


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Last Updated January 27, 2011