Green Hole captures top title at 2018 FIRST LEGO League KC Regionals

Kansas City, Mo. (January 20, 2018)–Green Hole, a neighborhood team from Lawrence, Kan., took home the top honors from the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Regional Championship at Metropolitan Community College’s Business & Technology Campus on Saturday, Jan. 20.

The competition included more than 400 students in fourth through eighth grades representing 46 teams from the greater Kansas City region. The teams advanced from a field of 200+ teams through five regional qualifier tournaments in November and December 2017, including a new tournament in Lawrence, Kan.

With adult coaches to guide them, FLL teams apply science, engineering and math concepts—plus a big dose of imagination—to develop solutions to real-world challenges. They also design, build and program LEGO MINDSTORMS®-based robots to perform autonomous “missions” on a playing field. Along the way, they develop critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills.

This season’s FIRST® LEGO® League Hydro Dynamics Challenge sent teams on a mission to study how we use water. Facilitating FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) programs in the Kansas City region is a primary way KC STEM Alliance brings STEM programming to students outside of the classroom. Green Hole will advance to the FIRST World Festival competition in Houston this April.

KC Regional Awards


  • 1st Place Champion: Team 17998, Green Hole
  • 2nd Place Champion: Team 31163, Lawrence LEGO Mafia of Raintree Montessori School
  • 3rd Place Champion: 7868 Show Me LEGOs, a team of family and friends from Grain Valley, Mo.

Green Hole also took home the Global Innovation Solutions Award for exemplary project solutions. Each FIRST® LEGO® League region nominates one team to move to the next round of competition.

Core Value Awards

The Inspiration Award celebrates a team that displays extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit. The 2018 winner is Team 31255, the Fighting Falcons a community team of family and friends.

The Teamwork Award​ recognizes a team that accomplishes more together than they could as individuals through shared goals, strong communication, effective problem solving and excellent time management. The award went to Team 6184 of the Barry School in the Platte County School District.

The Gracious Professionalism Award recognizes a team whose members show each other and other teams respect at all times. They recognize that both friendly competition and mutual gain are possible on and off the playing field. Team 17613 from Harmony Elementary School in the Blue Valley, Kansas, School District, earned the 2018 title.

Robot Design Awards

In this category, judges look for teams whose work combines robust mechanical design, excellent programming and a sound strategy, resulting in an innovative robot.

Mechanical Design recognizes a team that designs and develops a mechanically sound robot that is durable, efficient and highly capable of performing the challenge missions. This year’s award went to Team 5457, the Meadowmere Mechanical Maniacs from Meadowmere Elementary in Grandview, Mo.

The Programming Award recognizes a team that uses outstanding programming principles, including clear, concise and reusable code that allows the robot to perform challenge missions autonomously and consistently. The winner is Team 20259, the Hydro Llamas of Lakewood Middle School in the Blue Valley School District.

The Strategy & Innovation Award recognizes a team that uses solid engineering practices and a well-developed strategy to design and build an innovative, high performing robot. Team 4331, H.A.L.2O of St. Agnes Elementary School in Roeland Park, Kan., captured the 2018 award.

The Robot Performance Award goes to the team whose overall package of robot design, programming, strategy, and teamwork helped it to achieve the competition goal of acquiring more points than any other team. This award went to overall champs Green Hole.

Project Awards

The competition includes project presentations to show that individuals can make a difference by researching a problem, then contributing ideas and solutions to real-world issues.

The Research Award goes to the team that uses diverse resources to formulate an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the problem they identified. The winner is Team 17486, S.W.A.T., a team of family and friends.

Innovative Solutions recognizes a solution that is exceptionally well-considered and creative, with good potential to solve the problem researched. A neighborhood group, Team 605, the Mantis Shrimp Bots, received this year’s award.

The Presentation​ Award, which recognizes a team that effectively communicates the problem they have identified and their proposed solution to both the judges and other potential supporters, went to Team 6476, the Presentation Plumbers of Our Lady-Presentation School in Lee’s Summit, Mo.

Judges Award

During the course of competition, the judges may encounter teams whose unique efforts, performance or dynamics merit recognition. Some teams have a story that sets them apart in a noteworthy way. Sometimes a team is so close to winning an award that the judges choose to give special recognition to the team. Judges Awards allow the freedom to recognize remarkable teams that stand out for reasons other than the Core Award categories. The 2018 Judges Award went to Taco Tuesday Robotics, a family/community team.


See team photos and behind-the-scenes action through the photography of Charles Maples.

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Inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering (STEM). Kansas City FIRST, the local program, hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and supports FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) for high school students, FIRST LEGO League (FLL ) for 9 to 14 year olds, and Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) for 6 to 9 year olds. To learn more about Kansas City FIRST or US FIRST and its programs, go to

About KC STEM Alliance

KC STEM Alliance is a collaborative network of educators, business partners and organizations that inspires interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers to generate a robust force of related professionals for our community.