Robotics places ninth at Greater Kansas City Regional Tournament

Team advances to quarterfinals but is defeated in tiebreaker round


By Victoria Wright

During their quarterfinals match at the Greater Kansas City Regional on Saturday, March 18, seniors Jacob Tiehen and Marc Hinnen focus on driving the robot.

Anika Roy, JagWire editor-in-chief

The combined Mill Valley and De Soto Jaguar robotics team placed ninth out of sixty teams in the Greater Kansas City Regional Tournament this past weekend, Thursday, March 17 through Saturday, March 19. They ultimately fell short in a tiebreaker quarterfinal round with a score of 300-305.

Members of the team competed with the robot they worked six weeks to build, named Lightning McSteam, in a game designed specifically for this year’s event held at Metropolitan Community College.

By Victoria Wright
After being brought multiple gears by the robot on Saturday, March 18, senior Taylor Barth lines them up and spins a handle in order to power a rotor for points.

Each team at the event combines with others from different schools to form a greater team called an alliance. Sophomore Tyler Hilk believes these relationships formed between schools are both friendly and competitive.

“There’s a lot of cooperation with other teams along with competition in between,” Hilk said. “It’s more of a love-hate relationship to be honest and obviously everyone has the goal to win.”

The objective of the competition is to outscore the other alliance, accomplished in various ways. The Jaguar robotics team focused specifically on earning points by delivering gears to an object on a designated side of the field called an airship in order to spin rotors.

Head team mentor Gary Hannah believes that having a main focus was beneficial in the competition.

“The kids worked super hard on the robot; they went the simple route,” Hannah said.  “They picked one task and [the robot] does it really well. It hasn’t broken down so they haven’t had that anguish of trying to get it fixed and it all made us really confident going into quarterfinals.”

By Victoria Wright
Nearing the end of a match, the pilots drop a rope for the robot to climb in order to gain final points on Saturday, March 18.

This event was the fourth regional that senior assistant driver Jacob Tiehen has participated in, and he believes such competitions teach teams important strategies.

“You learn a lot from going to a regional,” Tiehen said. “Kind of like the football team would watch videos of other teams playing, there’s other regionals that go on throughout the country that we watch to figure out what they’re doing wrong and what we need to do.”

Delivering gears was prioritized and found effective on the field according to Hilk, but the team earned points in other ways as well.

“We were actually the first team to get all of our rotors to spin up, along with our alliance members, and that seems to be important for us,” Hilk said.  “We could also climb, which is worth fifty points for each robot to get to the top and touch the buzzer, so we focus on getting points quick.”

Tiehen greatly enjoyed the three-day competition because of the work that was put into the robot that allowed them to succeed.

“It’s been very exciting to see all this hard work pay off that we worked six weeks for,” Tiehen said. “We try to make every right move we can and when we win a match by about five points or so it’s just the most incredible thing ever.”

The team will be competing again at the St. Louis Championship in Missouri beginning on Wednesday, April 28.

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