Gulfport High School robotics team makes historic run at FIRST Championship

Gulfport High School robotics team makes historic run at FIRST Championship

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Members and sponsors of Team Fusion #364 make adjustments to their robot in preparation for the FIRST Championship held in St. Louis.
Members and sponsors of Team Fusion #364 make adjustments to their robot in preparation for the FIRST Championship held in St. Louis.

It was an event featuring more than 20,000 students from around the world.

They gathered in St. Louis, putting their engineering skills to the test at the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship.

Team Fusion #364, Gulfport High School’s robotics team, proved that they’re among the best of the best, making it all the way to their division’s semifinals in the world’s largest robotics competition.

“Team Fusion began in 1999 and is sponsored by Mississippi Power and other companies,” said Mississippi Power Regulatory Research and Analytics Manager Donna Van Loon. “It’s the first time a team from Mississippi made it to that level.”

In January, Team Fusion received specifications for robots from FIRST. They had six weeks to build the robot and test it. Then the device is bagged, sealed and untouched until competition time.

“Team Fusion began at the Bayou Regional in New Orleans, then it went on to the Huntsville Regional,” Van Loon added. “It finished second in Huntsville and ended up in St. Louis as a ‘wildcard’ entry.”

At the nationals, there were eight fields of 75 robots. Team Fusion’s run began on Hopper Field (named for Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, a computer scientist). A win there propelled the Gulfport team to the semifinals held on the Einstein Field.

Click here to learn more about the FIRST program and this year’s competition in St. Louis.