DALLAS -- LaCreole Middle School's robotics club followed its first year success with another strong showing at its First Lego League regional tournament in Albany on Sunday, Dec. 11.
One of the two teams, Nerd Herd, will make its second trip to state competition at Liberty High School in Hillsboro next month after snagging second place overall.
LaCreole's other team, Gear UP, was presented a first-place award for its demonstration of competition "core values," such as listening to teammates and advisers, demonstrating good sportsmanship, and having fun while learning.
Teams at the tournament were judged in four areas of competition: robot performance, robot design and programming, project presentation and core values. Individual awards were given to teams who excelled in each of the those four categories and overall awards were given to teams who performed well in all categories.
Club adviser Hank Schmidt described Nerd Herd team members as "proud as peacocks" to be making a second trip to state in only their second year of competition.
Nerd Herd will be facing 119 teams at the state tournament, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 14 and 15. Dallas will be competing on Jan. 14.
The theme of First Lego League tournaments this year is "Food Factor," focusing on food processing and safety. Each team builds and designs a robot to accomplish tasks on the competition field. In addition, they must identify a food safety issue and craft a solution.
Schmidt said Nerd Herd is now working hard preparing for state. He said the team's experience at state last year should help.
"I'm anticipating a really good event this year," Schmidt said.