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Liverpool's Arctic Warriors boast three regional titles

Team freezes competition with No. 1 'Snobot'

Move over, James Cameron. There are some new technical whiz kids ready for the spotlight. Last weekend, the Liverpool High School robotics team won the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Finger Lakes Regional competition in Rochester.

The Arctic Warriors have won three years running, taking the gold this year with a robot named "Snobot" they spent six weeks engineering.

"We have a reputation now that we're a good team," said team advisor Todd Dischinger, a technology teacher at LHS.

In the annual contest, teams are randomly placed into alliances that compete in different games that are changed every year. This forces the teams to construct a new robot each season. "It's a totally different challenge, different obstacles and different ways to score," Dischinger said. "FIRST definitely keeps it interesting."

The team consists of 40 to 45 students each year, males and females, ranging from freshmen to seniors, first-time members to seasoned four-year veterans. The team members also have a wide and varied set of interests, and some aren't even technology students. According to Dischinger, the team doesn't cut anyone, any student is welcome to join.

The one thing the team members do have to be, is dedicated. Dischinger estimates that each student devotes about 15 hours a week over a six-week span to being an Arctic Warrior.

Each group is allowed to build their robot for a month and a half, including planning, mechanics, programming, and practice for the competition itself. Dischinger said that the squad spends half of its time on planning alone.

That time isn't just about putting together a robot to compete, though. The focus of FIRST is to put high school students in contact with professionals in engineering and science.

Each group teams up with mentors from the community who work in those fields and help students learn about and build their robot. Carrier Corporation is a sponsor of the LHS team and contributes mentors each year, as does Lockheed Martin.

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