The Henry Ford Academy Gator Bots are gearing up for a strong season showing following their fourth place finish at Centerline High School on March 15.
The robotics team competed against 39 other schools across Michigan in a district tournament for FIRST in Michigan during the weekend.
This year's challenge for the teams was to build a remote controlled robot that could shoot standard Frisbee discs into goals at the end of a field to score points. At the end of the match, robots had to climb pyramids to earn bonus points.
Henry Ford finished with 31 points behind The Gearheads from Grosse Pointe.
"We have a great group of students, many of whom will be graduating this spring," team mentor Brian Moorhead said. "Our strengths at the district tournament were our ability to consistently score discs in the high goal in both autonomous (robot controlled) and teleoperated (human controlled) modes, and our ability to pick up discs from the floor.
"Our returning members from last year have done an amazing job of recruiting and training younger members, giving us a well rounded and competent team."
Moorhead said the 28-member team is busy upgrading its robot for the district tournament in Livonia on March 29-30.
"We're adding a simple climbing mechanism and improving our ability to pick up discs from the floor. We're also hoping to improve our rate of fire," he said.
The team will go on to compete in the state finals at Eastern Michigan University on April 11-13.
FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a robotics organization created in 1992 by inventor Dean Kamen to interest young people in science and technology.