Robotics team travels to St. Louis, competes in international championship


Max Stahl, staff writer

The robotics team traveled to St. Louis on April 23 to compete in the international FIRST Robotics Competition, in which the team failed to advance beyond qualifications and into the elimination round.

Matches required robots to shoot discs into tall, vertical targets and climb pyramids in order to score points. Breaking from its strategy at its previous two competitions, the robotics team designed a defensive robot for the St. Louis tournament. Although most team members agree this was a sound decision in theory, it did not work out for this competition, as no defensive teams were selected to advance to the elimination round.

“Unfortunately nobody wanted a defensive team. So while we performed all right, it ended up not being something that we needed, which was strange, because every year there’s always a defensive team that makes it to the elimination round. This was an odd year that it didn’t work out,” robotics mentor Kevin Bowers said.

Although the team did not advance as far as it had hoped, most team members are still satisfied with their robot’s performance. The team is particularly proud of having beaten Team 303, which had previously been undefeated, and ended up reaching a much later round of the tournament than did Beverly’s team.

“I feel pretty good. We’re all a bit bummed that we didn’t make it to eliminations (which was our goal), but we can take pride in the fact that stupid mistakes were not our Achilles heel; we truly did our best,” build team captain Michael Simozar said. “We had some sort of ghost going on in our shooter that hindered its performance between our last competition and now. Other than that, we didn’t have many problems at championship.”

The trip was not without amusing escapades. A man in a bear costume stealing team members’ hats and one team member accidentally eating glass (he was fine) were among the several stories robotics students delight in recounting to their friends.
“My favorite part of the trip was just not being here [in Beverly Hills], being very far away from home, and still being able to work on the robot,” safety captain and build team member Jasmine Gass said. “The competition was huge, so there were a lot of people there, and everyone was really nice. We made a lot of new friends.”
With the last competition of the year now over, robotics looks to the future. Despite a satisfactory performance, team members observed ways they can improve for next year.
“More prototyping is certain. The rest is still being discussed among leaders. Otherwise, we are restructuring the team in terms of preparation of students and perhaps even team organization,” Simozar said. “However, this is all tentative at the moment.”

For the remainder of the school year, the majority of robotics’ work will comprise community service and multimedia projects.