A youth robotics team comprising kids from San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano earned the right to compete for a state championship by placing first in two categories at a regional qualifying tournament on Saturday, Feb. 4.
Operation T.A.C. (Technology and Character) won the tournament championship, also known as the Inspire Award, and claimed the best Robot Performance in addition to five other awards, according to a media release from the team.
The team includes Jennifer Kausch, Lucas Moura, Elizabeth Rehard, Hannah Rehard and Luke Rehard. Next on their agenda is the SoCal FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship in Monrovia, California, on March 11.
Luke Rehard, a 10-year veteran of FIRSTTech Challenge competitions, spoke about the encouraging environment he’s experienced over the years, as well as Saturday’s events.
“As a senior in my last year of FIRST, Saturday’s competition was particularly exciting, because, by God’s grace, we were able to use a differential wrist to increase our versatility on the field,” he said.
Participants in the Tech Challenge events receive coaching from older mentors while trying to design and build robots in an intense, 12-foot by 12-foot area. Operation T.A.C. is led by parents Erin and Jason Rehard—the latter of whom is an engineer with a degree in computer science—who have coached teams within the organization for 10 years.
Nearly 6,000 teams from 34 countries haven taken part in the race to the World Championship, which will be held in Houston, Texas, from April 19-22.
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