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Citrus Circuits, the Davis high school robotics team, broke a world record at the FIRST Robotics world championships in Houston last weekend, becoming the first team in the 28-year history of the program to advance to the championship field seven years in a row.

“It’s really exciting how we’re literally the only team to ever reach this milestone in FRC. It’s a real testament to the consistent success and high performance of our team,” said team captain Janet Liu.

Citrus Circuits finished third this year in a field that featured more than 400 teams from around the world.

The 15-year-old team has qualified for the world championships nine times and won the title in 2015.

This year, Citrus Circuits advanced to the championship finals in Houston after winning a total of seven out of 10 qualification matches, landing them as the third-seeded team in their division.

The Citrus Circuits robot rolls into action. Courtesy photo

Citrus Circuits then chose teams from Garland, Texas; Sydney, Australia; and Kansas City, Mo., to join their alliance for the elimination round.

After riveting matches and a quarterfinal won by 1 point, the Citrus Circuits alliance emerged as the first-place winner of the Carver Division. They went on to play on the championship field, known as Einstein, where they won two of their matches and finished in third place.

For the first time ever, the team received the Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers at the world championships — an award which celebrates entrepreneurial spirit and recognizes a team that has developed a comprehensive business plan in order to define, manage and achieve the team’s ongoing objectives.

Citrus Circuits was recognized for its efforts to promote ongoing partnerships with team sponsors and development of a sustainable business model.

Following the competition, the Davis students were invited by a NASA-sponsored Houston area team, the Robonauts, for a tour of that team’s shop at the Johnson Space Center. Citrus Circuits team members were able to see up close some of the prototypes for future manned spaceflight and exploration, including International Space Station modules, manned Mars rovers and humanoid robots that will be used in space.

Citrus Circuits was founded in 2004 by lead mentor and Davis High School teacher Steve Harvey and is comprised of 98 students from Davis High, Da Vinci Charter Academy, and Holmes, Harper and Emerson junior high schools. Major sponsors of the team are UC Davis, the Davis Joint Unified School District, TechnipFMC, Hill Engineering and Lockheed Martin. For more information about the team, www.citruscircuits.org

FIRST is a nonprofit organization intended to promote science and technology and inspire students to pursue educational and career opportunities in these fields. This program has spread to more than 400,000 students in 80 countries around the world.

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