Four Katy-area Robotics Teams Advance to FIRST Lego League Regional Championship Tournament

The Cinco Ranch Junior High gym echoed with the sound of cheering as the CRyptonite robotics team from Cinco Ranch High School (CRHS) hosted their seventh annual FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO® League Katy Qualifier robotics tournament.  Of the 24 teams competing, four from the Katy-area and two others earned a coveted “Golden Ticket” to advance to the FIRST LEGO League Texas South Region Championship Tournament, which will be held January 27, 2018 at the British International School in Katy (

FIRST LEGO League is an annual international robotics competition for students from 4th to 8th grade in teams of two to ten members.  The teams create and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology to solve as many pre-determined missions as possible in a 2 ½ minute time period.  They also research a real-world problem and create and present a solution to judges, all while demonstrating core values, such as having fun, gracious professionalism® and coopertition®.  CRyptonite is a FIRST Robotics Competition team from Cinco Ranch High School that builds more advanced robots to compete in international competitions for high school-age students.  The team is dedicated to developing engineering, problem-solving and teamwork skills.  In addition to organizing and running the Katy Qualifier, CRyptonite members who were previously on FIRST Lego League teams helped coach three of the Katy-area teams that are advancing.

According to Bella Riffle, CRHS senior and fourth year CRyptonite team member, who was Student Coordinator for the tournament, “CRyptonite is dedicated to developing the next generation of scientists and engineers and this tournament helps support that goal”.  To this end, a Rookie Coach Award was given to Alex Dial for his work with the Computerized Coyotes team from Beck Jr. High. Dial, a second-year member of CRyptonite, was a on a FIRST LEGO League team at Beck.

Added Kyna McGill, first year CRyptonite member and announcer for the qualifier, who also mentored an advancing team, “FIRST taught me many valuable lessons about teamwork, project management and more, and motivated me to continue in robotics.  Several team members – including me – are using this knowledge to help develop and give back to younger teams.”

Qualifier Award Recipients

Teams which won awards in the individual phases of the competition and received a Golden Ticket to compete in the FIRST LEGO League Texas South Region Championship Tournament in January are:

  • Champions Award – Banshees (Team 31103): Houston (rookie team)
  • Programming – Beck-O-Bytes (Team 15593): Beck Jr. High, Katy
  • Research – Brainiac Maniacs (Team 25108): Girl Scouts of San Jacinto County, Katy (Elementary age)
  • Presentation – Symbiotes (Team 30582): Beck Jr. High, Katy (rookie team)
  • Innovative Solutions – Cyberwolves (Team 13764): Beck Jr. High, Katy
  • Strategy and Innovation – Computerized Coyotes (Team 34795): Beck Jr. High, Katy (rookie team)

Other awards presented at the tournament were:

  • Teamwork – SLJH1 (Team 21405): Seven Lakes Jr. High, Katy
  • Mechanical Design – Memorial Parkway Eagles Two (Team 27461): Memorial Pkwy Jr. High, Katy (rookie team)
  • Inspiration – Sabercats (Team 24061): Smith Middle School, Cypress (rookie team)
  • Gracious Professionalism – Bulldog Bots (Team 35602): Richmond (rookie team)
  • Robot Score – Brainiac Maniacs (Team 25108): Girl Scouts of San Jacinto County, Katy (Elementary age)

About FIRST, FIRST Lego League and FIRST Robotics Competition

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was created to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.  FIRST LEGO League is over 255,000 students from 88 countries.  FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sports with science and technology to create a unique Varsity Sport for the Mind™.  Participants are eligible to receive over $50 million in scholarships from some of the finest science and engineering schools in the country.  For more information on FIRST, please visit

About CRyptonite

Since its founding in 2000, Cinco Ranch High School FIRST Robotics Competition team (Team 624) has competed and won in local, national and international competitions.  CRyptonite gives its members hands on experiences in engineering, problem solving, and teamwork while also inspiring our community to have a greater appreciation for science and technology, including an annual Science Day Camp, the Katy FIRST Lego League Qualifier, demonstrations, mentoring and more.  This has been made possible through the generous financial and mentor support of our corporate sponsors, including founding sponsors BP America and Oceaneering Intervention Engineering. Other corporate sponsors include Bechtel Corporation, Texas Workforce Commission, Phillips 66, Schneider Electric, Exterran, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Chemical, Katy Area Economic Development Council, Wood Group, Texas Hydrographic Society (Houston Chapter), Shell, Chevron, PBK, KinderMorgan and AECOM.  For more information, please visit