MAY 22, 2019

For Immediate Release - Battle bots in Placer County! Local high school robotics team wins multiple tournaments in its first season, competes at Nationals!

Placer Advanced Robotics and Technology (PART) announced today that Washing Machine and Team Scott, two 15 lb combat bot teams, competed this past weekend at the National Robotics League national championships in Pennsylvania. Held at California University-Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburg, PA, the NRL National Competition brought together the top high school and college combat bots from across the country to face off battle-bots style as gladiators in a caged arena.

Sparks fly as local Placer area combat bots Scott and Washing Machine collide at Nationals!

Sparks fly as local Placer area combat bots Scott and Washing Machine collide at Nationals!

PART’s Washing Machine was the first Northern California team to qualify for the National competition after taking 1st Place at the October Obliteration NRL regional tournament in Southern California. Joining Washing Machine was “Team Scott,” which earned 2nd Place at its debut at the SparkleCon Smash VI tournament in Southern California early this year.

The team worked under tremendous time pressure to get ready for October Obliteration. “We only had around a month and a half... I'm really proud of the team designing and fabricating a successful bot so quickly” said Kyle Miller, Club President & Lead Designer of Washing Machine. “With the help of our first manufacturing partner, Independence Precision Machining, our weapon was able to reach tip speeds over 200 mph - on par with the top Battle Bot heavyweights”.

One taste of the excitement and atmosphere of robot fighting and the team was hooked. In December, PART launched 3 new combat teams all while embarking on an ambitious VEX Robotics Competition schedule. Just two months later, Team Scott and The Dryer, a 3 lb combat bot, were ready for the return trip to Southern California for the SparkleCon Smash VI tournament after getting assistance from local company Sacramento EDM & Waterjet Inc to machine critical Scott components.

Bots Scott (left) Washing Machine (right)

Bots Scott (left) Washing Machine (right)

Washing Machine delivers a big hit on Rhynex 2

Washing Machine delivers a big hit on Rhynex 2

At Nationals, Washing Machine got off to a strong 3-0 start, before taking heavy damage in a brutal fight with Rhynex 2. After scrambling in the pits to rebuild the drive and weapon systems, Washing Machine faced off against Carnegie Mellon University’s bot UGEEE before being eliminated and finishing ranked 9th out of 58 teams.

NRL Nationals wrapped up an impressive first season for the Placer-based club, with 7 robotics teams combining to win 3 titles and 6 other awards in combat robotics and VEX Robotics Competitions. PART also made a bit of VEX history, becoming the first Placer County high-school aged team to qualify for the California VEX State Championships by winning the Turning Point By The Bay tournament held in Richmond, CA in January.

PLACER Robotics and technology - student-led competitive robotics

PART, Placer Advanced Robotics and Technology, is a student-led, competitive robotics program for high school aged students in Placer County. Faced with shutdown of a 20-year GBHS FRC program, a group of local high school students founded PART in July 2018 to expand competitive robotics opportunities for Placer area high school students. The student-led, after school club competes in events throughout California and nationally.

Think of PART as the club-level or varsity sport for STEM students — where teamwork, collaboration, leadership skills, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) combine into a fun and intense competition that is an unexpectedly exhilarating experience. Team members put in 100s of hours into designing, building and perfecting their bots & driver skills to prepare for their competitions.

VEX Robotics competition - california state vex “BUild award” winners

In VEX tournament competitions, PART had a strong showing at the VEX California State Championships, hosted by Sierra College in Rocklin. PART 81818X received the Build Award for their professional design and build quality, finishing the season as a Tournament Semifinalist. Earlier in the season, PART teams won the Judges Award at the Google Signature Event held in Mountain View, and the Robot Skills, Design and Energy Awards at the NorCal Rumble tournament held in Yuba City, CA.

“VEX was great because we were able to just dive right in,” said Granite Bay High School freshman Charlotte Que, a member of VEX team 81818A, “We used real engineering and programming concepts to act out our game strategy, and then had to adapt those concepts on the fly based on alliance partners and competitors.”

ambitious goals for 2019-2020

PART already has ambitious goals for next year, expanding the combat bot and VEX programs, with hopes to bring a NRL combat bot event to Northern California in the near future. As part of its expansion, the team’s combat bot workspace is moving to the HackerLab in Rocklin, thanks to the generous support of new sponsors HackerLab and Sierra College. “I’ve been amazed by what these kids have learned and accomplished already in their first year. I look forward to finding additional sponsors for this program so we can reach even more local kids in 2019 and beyond” said Lance Loveday, PART board member, and CEO, Closed Loop in Roseville, CA.

Bot designers are already hard at work plotting out their return to NRL Nationals, while the VEX teams are analyzing the newly released “Tower Takeover” competition challenge with the goal of advancing to the VEX Worlds Championships in April 2020.

The team will also be hosting VEX Summer Workshop for 5th-8th graders - 3 days worth of robot building, coding and mini-competition to introduce area middle school students to competitive robotics and STEM careers. Attendees can sign up for the VEX classes by visiting the PART website at

Washing Machine and Scott team members with their bots at NRL Nationals in California, PA

Washing Machine and Scott team members with their bots at NRL Nationals in California, PA

ABOUT PART - Placer Advanced Robotics and Technology

Placer Advanced Robotics and Technology is a student-led, competitive robotics program for high school age students from Placer County. To learn more about PART, visit:

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