Robotics team holds practice to prepare for upcoming competitions

During their build season, the robotics team practices Thursday, Feb. 6

Sammie Volkamer, JAG editor-in-chief

With their season close ahead, the robotics team held one of many weekly practices Thursday, Feb. 6, during their build season, the period of time the team takes to build their robot. Their first competition is Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, Feb. 29. 

Looking toward the future, junior Ryan Phillips has high hopes for their competition season. Two years ago, the team went to Worlds, an international competition.

“We’re building a robot for FIRST Robotics’ first competition this year, which is a game sponsored by Star Wars. Basically, what we’re doing is building our robot to complete a certain number of tasks,” Phillips said. “We want to have a chance to go to Worlds again because we did freshman year.”

According to senior Nico Gatapia, the team’s robot will be able to do various tasks when completed.

“In this year’s game, we have to collect dodge balls and deliver them to boards,” Gatapia said. “It will pick up balls, and it will hold up to five balls. Then, it will dump those balls in a hole.”

With five subteams working on different aspects of the robot, coming together proves to be difficult for Phillips and the rest of the team.

“The hardest part is communication with other teams because everyone has different ideas,” Phillips said. “It takes a lot of organization and work; we have to make sure we’re on the same page.”

Gatapia and the rest of the team are in the middle of a six-week build season.

“Currently, we’re building our robot. During build season, we meet Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays,” Gatapia said. “Near the end of the season it gets more frantic and we can end up staying here until midnight sometimes.”

The time put in all season long ends up being an advantage, according to Phillips. 

“My favorite part of robotics is the reward. Getting something done feels really good,” Phillips said. “It just feels nice to know that we completed something that is pushing us closer to our goal.”

Gatapia believes all of the team’s work pays off in the end.

“The actual competition is really fun,” Gatapia said. “It seems like there would be a bunch of nerds, and there is, but it’s fun and hype. You get to meet a lot of new people.”

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