The Grandview Heights High School FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) team brought its robot out of retirement last weekend for one last battle.

The Grandview Heights High School FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) team brought its robot out of retirement last weekend for one last battle.

The team participated in the 2011 Connect a Million Minds Robotics Invitational at South High School in Columbus.

"This is the first time we've had a chance to participate in a summer event," team adviser Sue Godez said. "They had this event last year, but we weren't able to participate because some of our students had scheduling conflicts."

With only three seniors who won't be returning to next year's GHHS FIRST team, the extra experience the summer tournament provided will help the students who will be back next year, Godez said.

In addition to helping build better teamwork, the summer experience also "gives us a chance to observe some of the teams we may be competing against next year," she said.

Twenty teams from around Ohio and as far away as Indianapolis and Winfield, W.V., competed in Saturday's tournament.

The squads competed in the Logo Motion game, which was the contest used for the 2010-11 FIRST national tournament.

Teams earned points by how many plastic triangle, circle and square shapes their robots could hang on poles set up on the game field. Teams competed as alliances, facing off against other alliances.

The competition also included an Autonomous Period in which the robots operated independently of driver inputs and scored extra points by hanging Ubertubes.

"A huge highlight for us (was) that we were able to see our autonomous mode work," Godez said.

Grandview's record at the tournament was 3-2, with the team winning its last three rounds of qualification matches.

The team was selected as part of an alliance to go into the elimination matches, but lost both of those contests.

GHHS team members Gen Ritz and Mary Kate Dempsey were asked to join the Independence High School/Walnut Ridge High School/Eastmoor Academy team for the finals because it did not have enough students attend the competition.

The team got into the finals and its alliance won the competition.

Other Grandview students said it was fun to have a chance to put the robot they built through one more competition.

"It worked pretty well for having just sat in a box for the past several months," Kyle Modlich said.

"It wasn't too rusty," Andy McCauley said. "It did work better in the practice round (Saturday) than in did in the early rounds" of competition.

The team did not make any adjustments to the robot, having been satisfied with the machine and its performance in earlier FIRST competitions, Stephanie Lepsik said.

The extra competition will help team members keep "in shape" for next year's FIRST competition, she said.

The best part of FIRST is the team camaradarie that builds, and that will improve with the summer experience, McCauley said.

afroman@thisweeknews.com