When Tech Fusion (Team 279) from the Toledo Technology Academy takes to the course in Cincinnati for the Queen City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, Toledo Public Schools history will be made.

That's because, since a robotics team was formed at TTA in 1999, the driver on the three-person team will be a female student, chosen after two rounds of what Dale Price, the team's moderator, says were 'very competitive tryouts.'

"For the first time ever, we have a young lady as the lead driver of the robot," says Mr. Price. "Other than on all-girl teams, a female driver is not a common occurrence."

The glass ceiling breaker is junior Elizabeth Skowronski, who joins seniors Ryan Danielak (game objective operator) and Brandon Coykendall (human player). The Queen City Regional is scheduled for March 30 to April 2 and the TTA team will be competing against 53 teams from across the state.

"In 1999, on our first robotics team, a young lady was our human player," Mr. Price says. "But we have never had another young lady on the Drive Team until now, and she went all the way to the top."

The FIRST Robotics Competition is the grandfather of all robotics competitions, created more than 20 years ago for high school students. It is often called the 'ultimate sport for the mind' because it combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. According to its website, "Under strict rules, limited resources and an intense six-week time limit, teams of 20 or more students are challenged to raise funds, design a 'team brand,' hone teamwork skills and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors."

Mr. Price says Tech Fusion's ultimate goal is to do so well that it can compete in the World Championships in St. Louis in April.

Click here for a Channel 11 report on Elizabeth's appointment as driver: http://bit.ly/1oEHZrs

Posted on February 26, 2016