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Youth LEGO robotics teams excel at 10th annual state tournaments focused on biomedical engineering

The top teams of 9-14 year olds from across the state and region compete with their ingenious custom robots

Contacts: Bruce Schafer, Director, OUS Industry Affairs; Office: 503-725-2915; Cell: 503-332-4666

Cathy Swider, Project Administrator, OUS; Office: 503-725-2920; Cell: 971-219-1020

January 17, 2011: The Oregon University System (OUS) is pleased to announce 6 state champions of the Intel Oregon FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournaments, presented by Rockwell Collins, held on January 15-16, 2011 at Liberty High School in Hillsboro. The tournaments brought together 113 teams, which represented the top 30% of about 380 teams from around Oregon and SW Washington. Each team of 9-14 year olds programmed their custom-made robot to compete on various robot missions, displayed their research presentation focused on biomedical engineering, and presented to three panels of judges.

For the last 10 years, the Oregon Robotics Tournament & Outreach Program (ORTOP) has offered the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) pre-engineering program to help young students begin exploring technical careers at an early age to meet high-tech industry and economic needs. Oregon technology corporations and industry associations collaborate with the Oregon University System (OUS), hundreds of volunteers, and major youth organizations to implement the program, and Oregon boasts the largest participation per capita in FIRST LEGO League in the nation.

Each team is made up of four to ten students ages 9-14 who are given about 12 weeks to prepare for the tournament, including construction, design, and programming of the robot, and completion of the required scientific research. The teams used off-the-shelf LEGO robotics kits to construct working robots, each which is unique and completes as many missions as possible on a 4-foot by 8-foot playing field. The teams also present research projects addressing biomedical engineering, discuss technical aspects of their research with judges, and show their ever-important teamwork skills. This weekend’s 10th anniversary tournaments showed a great diversity of teams, including girls and boys from home schools, public schools, private schools, and communities from rural and urban areas across the state and surrounding region.

 “Intel enthusiastically supports the FIRST LEGO League program because we are convinced that it stimulates interest in math and science among young people," said Jill Eiland, Intel's Northwest Region Corporate Affairs Manager. "Talent in those areas is critical to the future success of Intel and the United States economy.”

First place for the Intel Oregon Champion’s Award, the most prestigious award of the competition, went to two co-champions: M.R.I.’s from Hubbard, Oregon and Future Imagineers from Camas, Washington. This award goes to the team who is strongest in four categories: robot design, robot performance, the research project, and teamwork. One champion team has the opportunity to advance to the FLL World Festival to be held in St. Louis, Maryland in April and the other to the US and Canadian Open FLL Championship at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, California in May.  The second-place Champion’s Awards went to the Z-bots and Untitled Geniuses, both of Portland, Oregon. The third-place Champion’s Awards were given to LEGOs for the Cure of Woodland and Brick Links of Bethany.  In addition, Oregon teams walked away this weekend winning many impressive category and subcategory awards made possible by Oregon companies (see sponsor list on page 2.)

Winning teams were very proud of their accomplishments and excited for what’s next. Some team members already see options opening for their future careers. Greg Ruef, a member of the M.R.I.’s, said “I used to want to be a lawyer but now I would rather be an engineer.” Another benefit of the program is building team and communication skills.  Seamus McAvoy, a member of the Future Imagineers said he “learned how to deal with conflicts so nobody gets upset.” By coincidence, the research projects conducted by the top Champion’s teams on the two days were in closely related areas. One team designed a prosthetic for a woman who wanted to be able to swim while the other designed a prosthetic liner with sensors that provide better fits for prosthetic legs.  Research projects by other teams varied widely from cures for eye disease to assisting elderly people.

Each year FLL defines a challenge that drives team activities. In this year's Body Forward® challenge, the FIRST LEGO League teams embarked on an exploration of cutting-edge world of biomedical engineering to discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions, and maximize the body's potential, with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives. Each team developed a presentation describing what they learned and what they recommend.  Many teams took advantage of research resources made available by the faculty and staff of Oregon Health & Science University. In addition, each team designed, built and programmed a small robot that conducts a series of biomedical missions on robotics playing field. 

Bruce Schafer, director of industry affairs for OUS, said “Congratulations to all the teams that participated in this year’s tournament. We expect them to be tomorrow’s engineers and innovators. Many thanks to Intel and all of our corporate and community sponsors and volunteers, who make this valuable and rewarding program happen each year.”

ORTOP thanks its generous sponsors for this event, including Intel Oregon, the title sponsor; Rockwell Collins, the presenting sponsor; RadiSys and TechAmerica, platinum sponsors; Bonneville Power Administration Garmin, the Oregon University System and Performance Health Technology, gold sponsors;  IBM, and ONAMI (Oregon Nanoscience & Microtechnologies Institute), Timbercon & Vernier, silver sponsors; as well as all its supporting community sponsors and volunteers.  Thanks to the generosity of these sponsors, 35% of this year’s teams received a scholarship to help them get started or to continue their participation.

For more information on the program go to www.ortop.org/fll.


Awards: Intel Oregon FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournaments

January 15 & 16, 2011For a listing of all awards, including subcategories, go to www.ortop.org/fll



Team Name





Intel Champion’s Award, 1st Prize: Day 1


Whiskey Hill neighborhood


Harrison Gingerich, Ian Oakes, Tristan Oakes, Ryan Bigej, Jack Bigej, Greg Ruef

Amy Bigej, Roger Oakes, Jeremy Gingerich, Jennifer Gingerich

Intel Champion’s Award, 1st Prize: Day 2

Future Imagineers

Hockinson and Camas neighborhoods


Bryce Croucher, Tyler Croucher, Seamus McAvoy, Jonah Runde, Yuness Badiei

Bob Croucher, Randy Croucher


Intel Champion’s Award, 2nd Prize: Day 1


Findley Elementary School


Arnob Das, Deepto Mizan, Muhammad Shahir Rahman, Sheehan Ahmed

Asifur Rahman

Intel Champion’s Award, 2nd Prize: Day 2

Untitled Geniuses

Forest Heights neighborhood


Siddharth Suri, Ryan Patridge, Michael Ioffe, Spencer Hutchinson, Paolo Bifulco

Himanshu Suri, Mark Hutchinson

Intel Champion’s Award, 3rd Prize: Day 1

LEGOs 4 the Cure

Woodland Middle School


Addy Dinehart, Rebecca Hennings, Aaron Kitchen, Jamie Kitchen, Tim Nahring, Carlos Roldan, Jacob Rosenbalm, Virn Warndahl, Matthew Young

Timothy Brown, Sharlene Brown

Intel Champion’s Award, 3rd Prize: Day 2

Brick Links

Bethany neighborhood


Nicole Svilich, Rebecca Croysdale, Alex Chang, Asa Puls, Ian Schipper,Steven Cen

Kevin Svilich, Kevin Croysdale, Teresa Svilich

TechAmerica Young Team Award: Day 1




Anna Nixon, Brian Menezes, James Menezes, Mukund Madhusudan, Rohan Menon, Shane Puthuparambil, Tara Menon

Karol Menezes, Nixon Xavier, Madhu Rajan, Narayan Menon

TechAmerica Young Team Award: Day 2

Lego Megos

Cedaroak Park Primary School

West Linn

Quinn Manes, Gage Manes, Aidan Sloan, Hunter Crawford, Jack McDonald, Calvin McHenry, Ian Underwood, Seth Cornelius

Tim Manes, Elizabeth Apen, Joe Sloan, Dave Cornelius

Garmin Rookie Team Award: Day 1

Lego Technos

Springville K8 School Lego Club


Alex Tharappel, Gokul Kolady, Pratheek Makineni, Jonas Cisneros, Keshav Siddhartha

Francis Tharappel, Kris Kolady, Srihari Makineni

Garmin Rookie Team Award: Day 2




Sowmya Jujjuri, Neel Balusa, Saurabh Jamalapuram, Meghana Narahari

Venkateswararao Jujjuri, Sairama Jamalapuram, Satish Balusa, Anu Narahari


The Champion's Award is the most prestigious of the awards. It encompasses the aspects of the Robot Design Award, the Robot Performance Award, the Project Award, and the Teamwork Award.  All teams are eligible to receive a Champion’s Award.

The Young Team Award is like the Champion’s Award except that it is restricted to teams made up of children in fifth grade or younger.

The Rookie Team Award is like the Champion’s Award except that it is restricted to teams that have never participated in an FLL in a previous season.



Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu.