Ctrl-Z Team Success at Robotics Competitions


 Ctrl-Z Team Success at Robotics Competitions

Local student robotics team finds success at regional and international FIRST robotics competitions

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) organization team 4096 Ctrl-Z is a local youth robotics team made up of more than 35 middle and high school students from Champaign County in Illinois. The team was founded in 2011 and is the only affiliated robotics squad in the area. They build robots to compete in the annual FIRST Robotics Competition, which challenges student groups to build robots in six weeks that can complete certain physical tasks.

 The team attended regional competitions: the regional tournament hosted in Peoria where the Ctrl-Z squad’s alliance teams took first place in the playoffs, even after the robot tipped over in the middle of a match and in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the team won the FIRST Impact award, given to the team that best embodied the mission of spreading education around science, tech, engineering, and math to young kids.

After performing well in the regionals, Ctrl-Z were part of the Winning Alliance for the 2023 FIRST Robotics Competition Championship held in Houston, TX, April 22, 2023. They were joined with team 1323 MadTown Robotics from Madera, California, team 4414 HighTide from Ventura, California, and team 2609 BeaverworX from Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Over 18,000 students in more than 600 teams from 59 countries competed with robots in display of STEM talent.

 High school students are completely responsible for designing, assembling, wiring, coding and controlling the robot. The team's 123-pound heavy 4-wheel robot, "Siren-Z",  had an extending arm that was designed for this year’s game, grabbing, and placing cubes into slots and cones on pegs, and balancing on a seesaw station, in collaboration with other robots.

Longtime coaches Adam Pletcher, Robert Smith and Michal Ondrejcek, as well as College of Engineering student mentors helped the team along the way. In their role as FIRST mentors, they provide guidance and support to students participating in the program, helping them to develop skills in robotics.

Michal Ondrejcek a senior software engineer who works at the Applied Research Institute (ARI) has been Ctrl-Z mentor and coach for more than 5 years.

The Ctrl-Z team receives financial support from Caterpillar, Bayer Fund and 4-H Illinois Extension. Shop space is provided by Parkland College.

FIRST Ctrl-Z Team

You can see more news coverage of this event and links to other videos at the links below:

Championship team intros, Ctrl-Z 4096 Champaign starts at at 3:28:

Einstein Final match in Houston Championship:

A News-Gazette article before the competition with details:

Press release from FIRST: https://www.firstinspires.org/about/press-room/record-breaking-crowds-celebrate-youth-robotics-teams-stem-innovation-at-first-championship-in-houston