Girls of Steel Qualify for FIRST® Championship

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The Girls of Steel, a robotics team composed of high-school-age girls, and the team's robot, E.V.E., competed at the Pittsburgh Regional FIRST® Robotics Competition, March 14-16, at the University of Pittsburgh's Petersen Events Center. The team qualified to advance to the FIRST Championship, April 24-27 in St. Louis.

The team includes 43 girls from 20 area schools and is supported by the Robotics Institute's Field Robotics Center and a number of business and foundation sponsors. This is the third year that the team has competed in FIRST.

The Girls of Steel finished 25th out of 45 high school teams from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Canada. The team qualified for the finals by winning the Engineering and Inspiration Award, celebrating its efforts to advance respect and appreciation for engineers.

Team member Naoka Gunawardena, a junior at Ellis School, received one of two Dean's List Finalist Awards, which recognizes a student leader whose passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary. She will compete for the Dean's List Award at the St. Louis event.

This year's FIRST challenge is called the Ultimate Ascent. This is a game played with Frisbee-like discs between two alliances of three teams each. Each alliance competes by trying to score as many flying discs into their goals as possible during a two-minute and 15-second match. Discs scored in higher goals score more points. Matches end with robots attempting to climb up pyramids located near the middle of the field.

Prior to the event, the Girls of Steel hosted a "Week Zero" event at their practice field near Bakery Square, where local teams got a chance to practice before the regional. They will host a similar event on April 20, prior to the final event in St. Louis.

Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 |