Cheney Free Press -


Staff Reporter 

Circuit Breakers take 11th in FIRST Robotics Competiton


Al Stover

The Medical Lake High School Circuit Breakers team continued to make repairs and modifications to their machine during for the competition.

The Medical Lake High School Circuit Breakers team competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition, March 14-15 at Eastern Washington University.

The Circuit Breakers earned the Highest Seeded Rookie award for 19th place in the 2013 competition. In this year's event, the team, who went 2-3 in the elimination rounds, came in 11th place and earned 37 points.

Students had to design, build and program a robot that kicked and tossed large exercise balls on a basketball court-size field.

According to Dennis Schweikhardt, one of the four mentors for the team, students started meeting two times a week at the beginning of the school year. The team was divided into four divisions: mechanical, fabrication, software and business.

Beginning in January, students spent six weeks constructing their robot from the assembly kit and other materials, such as extruded aluminum donated by Brooks Live Science.

"You get six weeks to build and it's an intensive period," Schweikhardt said. "You spend every Saturday putting (your machine) together."

The team continued to make modifications and repairs to their robot before the competition, as well as in between their matches.

"Some of those matches are battles and your machine gets pretty banged up," Schweikhardt said.

Junior Logan Earl, who is the main driver of the robot, said this year's team had more people who had experience, which "helped out the team." He said he was nervous and excited for this year's competition.

Schweikhardt said the students on the team have an opportunity to use different skill sets and expose themselves to technology that they normally would not use in their "everyday lives."

"Some will find their niche and say 'I didn't know I could do this. I love it,'" Schweikhardt said.

Al Stover can be reached at


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