Local robotics team wins grand champ honor

The Thunderbirds robotics team won the grand champion title at the regional Lego League competition on Nov. 21. Team members are (front, from left) Gage Crawford, Brock Brubaker, Camille Harris, Brianna Elston, Noah Zahn, Grace Driscoll and Darcy Williams; and (back, from left) Brooke Elston, Chris Elston, Lori Elston, Cole Davidson, Samuel Elliott, Travis Bolinger and Connor Nash.
The Thunderbirds robotics team won the grand champion title at the regional Lego League competition on Nov. 21. Team members are (front, from left) Gage Crawford, Brock Brubaker, Camille Harris, Brianna Elston, Noah Zahn, Grace Driscoll and Darcy Williams; and (back, from left) Brooke Elston, Chris Elston, Lori Elston, Cole Davidson, Samuel Elliott, Travis Bolinger and Connor Nash. Photo provided.

The Thunderbirds, a Huntington County robotics team competing in the FIRST Lego League, came home from the regional qualifying tournament in Fort Wayne on Nov. 21 with the grand champion title.

The win at Ivy Tech, in Fort Wayne, qualifies the Huntington team for the Indiana State Lego Competition, to be held Dec. 12 in the Gates Athletics Center Fieldhouse at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne.

The Thunderbirds’ 397 points was the highest score on the Lego table and the highest ever scored by the team in its seven years of competition.

In the competition, teams were required to research and present a solution to a recycling program. The Thunderbirds discovered that members of the Huntington community don’t like to recycle common household trash, but would consider recycling if it included a monetary gain.

The local team talked with officials at the Huntington Landfill and at Quincy Recycling, in Fort Wayne, before presenting a kiosk solution to Mayor Brooks Fetters. The business model and motto, “Be Green for Green,” was presented to judges and will advance to the state championship.

Team members are Brock Brubaker, Gage Crawford, Cole Davidson, Grace Driscoll, Samuel Elliott, Brianna Elston, Camille Harris, Darcy Williams and Noah Zahn; Crestview Middle School science teacher Travis Bolinger; and Team THRUST 1501 mentors Chris and Lori Elston. Student mentors from Team 1501 are Brooke Elston, Connor Nash and Josef Thomson.

FIRST Lego Team 16685 Thunderbirds is a partnership between Crestview Middle School and the Huntington County 4-H robotics program. This year’s Lego team is sponsored by UTEC Controls, in Huntington, with a $1,000 corporate UTEC Foundation grant.