By Tyffani Caddy
Team E of the robotics team brought home gold with the Excellence Award at the High School State Robotics Competition on Feb. 22 at Coronado High School and earned the chance to compete at the national level April 4-7 in Iowa. Brendan Graves, Gabe Hunt, Ian Juneau, Noah Leighton, Sean Maseng and Oliver Silberg made up the team. This award is given to the top robot in the state. Judges based their decision on interviews, the robot’s performance and the team’s engineering notebooks which contained top designs, programming information and engineering processes for the bot.
“As president of Robotics, I am extremely proud that this year we were able to qualify for nationals for the second time in a row,” Sean Maseng, junior, said. “I’m quite amazed to see the team that I have worked with throughout the year be given the opportunity to compete in nationals.”
The team earned their shot in the state competition after competing in the regionals tournament at Green Valley on Dec. 15. The objective of the tournament was to build a robot that could flip a cap, pick up a three-inch ball, and shoot at different targets. They received the Excellence Award there as well, the highest award that can be awarded to a VEX robotics team.
“Coronado took the two highest awards of the day, the Excellence and the Tournament Champion,” Robotics advisor, Ellen Noto said. “ It was the best showing by Coronado at any tournament since the start of the robotics team.”
Following their win at regionals, the team solved problems and made minor improvements to the robot to prepare fo state. They also practiced using the functions of the robot to improve performance. Adjusting the autonomous programming, the period of which the robot moves without the control of the team members, is a goal set to complete by the time nationals rolls around.
“It was fun to work through problems with our team and qualify for nationals,” Grace Gabrielson, sophomore, said.
The robotics program has 47 students that all work together to build a robot that can complete whatever challenges they face in a tournament. Building the robot took four months for the team to assemble and perfect. The team buys their own parts for the robot. They fundraised at Shake Shack and sold ice cream at lunch to raise the necessary funds.
“We put a lot of time into this bot,” Alex Lea, sophomore, said. “We went through many iterations, but I feel that it was worth it in the end.”