University of Portland business professor Gary Mitchell and his wife, Veronica, coached a team of 13 Lake Oswego students who recently became robotics world champions. The students, ranging from grades eight through eleven, won the Control Award (for Robot Intelligence) at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championship, held April 22-25, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. Team Axis is a self-funded neighborhood robotics team that just finished its second year of FTC competition.
Only 128 of 4,500 teams from around the world qualified for the annual World Championship. The Mitchells started coaching the team last year when they learned their local high school had no space or budget to support a robotics team. Their son, Colin, is a member of the team as well.
In order to make it to the World Championship, the team had to advance through four levels of competition, including the Oregon State Championship and the West Super-Regional Championship (72 teams from 13 western states). The top 2.9% of teams from around the world competed at the World Championship, including teams from the U.S., China, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, Canada, Australia, Romania, India, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands.
According to the Mitchells, the primary mission of Team Axis is to provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) opportunities for kids who do not have access to similar programs through their school.
Team Axis has social media pages at twitter.com/teamaxisftc and www.facebook.com/TeamAxis7187. Additional information on the FIRST FTC program can be found at www.usfirst.org/ftc and information about FTC in Oregon can be found at http://www.ortop.org/ftc/.