Tuesday, October 6 , 2015, 4:42 pm | Fair 75º

Syntax Error Robotics Team Wins L.A. Competition, Advances to Super-Regionals in Sacramento

Syntax Error robotics team members, from left, Kyle Kovacs, Collin Dutter, Andrew McGuan and Ryan Weideman flash their winning smiles after their Los Angeles regional tournament victory.
Syntax Error robotics team members, from left, Kyle Kovacs, Collin Dutter, Andrew McGuan and Ryan Weideman flash their winning smiles after their Los Angeles regional tournament victory.  (Kristen Kovacs photo)

By Kristen Kovacs for Syntax Error |

Local FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team, Syntax Error, has qualified to compete in the FTC West Super-Regional Championship competition after the team’s win at the Los Angeles regional tournament held Feb. 22 in Monrovia.

Enjoying their second season, seniors Kyle Kovacs, Collin Dutter and Andrew McGuan from Dos Pueblos High School and Ryan Weideman from San Marcos High School formed Team 6077 last year. They meet regularly with their coach, Kristen Kovacs, and their mentor, Christian Marx at Kovacs’ home.

Syntax Error previously qualified to compete in the regional competition by earning the Inspire Award Second Place at the Claremont qualifying tournament in December. They also were on the Winning Alliance at the Glendale qualifying tournament last month.

After the round-robin morning matches at the Los Angeles tournament on Saturday, Syntax Error was ranked fifth and was drafted onto Alliance No. 1. They worked beautifully together with their partner teams, the Warriors of San Diego and the Robogamers from New York, to continue undefeated through the final competition rounds and become the Winning Alliance. Forty-eight teams competed for the chance to advance to the next level. All three teams on the Winning Alliance will continue their seasons in the West Super-Regional competition in March.

In their rookie year last season, Syntax Error finished as a Finals Alliance Captain at the San Diego Regional level, narrowly missing the chance for advancement to the World Championships. All four members of that rookie team are now seniors and have set a goal to reach the World Championships. This year FIRST has added a new level of competition between regionals and worlds with four super-regional tournaments. The West Super-Regional will host teams from 13 states, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Syntax Error is an independent FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team with four members that is not affiliated with a school. FTC teams are for students in grades seven to 12 and are limited to 10 members.

Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international robotics competition founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989. The nonprofit FIRST was created to inspire and motivate students to excel and pursue careers in engineering, science and technology.

Syntax Error team members are interested in advancing the understanding of robotics in middle and high schools and in spreading the message of the excitement, team spirit and intellectual stimulation that FIRST competitions provide. Any local schools or community members wishing to start a robotics program are encouraged to contact Syntax Error for further information. Grant money is available through Los Angeles FIRST to assist new teams in getting started.

Syntax Error will now compete at the West Super-Regional competition March 20-22 in Sacramento. The winning teams at the West Super-Regionals will advance to the FTC World Championship tournament in April. The public is welcome to attend and cheer on Syntax Error at the McClellan Conference Center on March 20-22.

— Kristen Kovacs represents Syntax Error-Team 6077.

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