by Tainá Queiroz Fonseca
On Saturday, February 25th, several Coronado robotics teams took on the Nevada state championships for robotics. After a full day of working on their robot, team Material Gworlz, made up of Sarah Thorson, Faith Turner, Rebecca Frommer, Adelaide Choi, and Hannah Hong, won the Design award and was the only Coronado robotics team to win an award- talk about women in STEM!
In the Vex Robotics Competition, each team must build a robot that competes on a game board that changes yearly. For this year’s competition, the robot had to be able to throw a frisbee and participate in disc golf, a game where the balls and clubs in golf are replaced by frisbees.
The competition consists of judges who look through each team’s engineering notebook that team’s make over the school year and tracks the progress made while creating the robot. During the competition, the judges meet each team and ask questions.
There were fifty-six teams with two divisions that consisted of twenty-eight teams each. Out of all the teams, only two teams win overall. The winning teams were from Moapa and Cimarron-Memorial High School. To qualify for worlds, teams must win one of the eight awards: Tournament champion, tournament finalist, skills champion, design award, excellence award, or innovate award.
“Our strategy is to always talk to the teams we’re with beforehand, so we know what their strengths are and also what their weaknesses are,” senior Sarah Thorson said. “We also look into the teams we’re against, so we can create a game plan that would be the most effective.”
Coronado’s team Material Gworlz consisting three senior girls, a junior and a sophomore girl, had strong plans for their robot. The team had been working on their robot since September of 2022 but has been brainstorming since the summer.
“My team’s goal was to try our hardest and have fun because three of the five people on my team are seniors so we wanted to have fun at our last state competition,” Thorson continued.
After the qualifying rounds, team members were distraught, believing they had won nothing in their last year of high school. Yet, the team were in tears of joy when they discovered they had won the design award and were going to worlds.
“I was proud of us getting the award of course, but I’m truly proud of what we were able to do this year,” Thorson said. “We have all put so many hours into building the robot, programming it, making the notebook, and practicing driving it, so I would’ve been proud of that even if we hadn’t gotten the award.”
Through all of their accomplishments, Material Gworlz remained humble and reflected on their faults throughout the competition. Thorson pitched ideas to improve her team’s endgame. The endgame is the last 10 seconds of the game where you can expand your robot horizontally to cover as much of the field as possible.
“We could improve our program because I know we can do more. We also could improve our endgame,” Thorson concluded. “we use pneumatics to launch [a] string which works really efficiently, but the way we store the string on our robot doesn’t work well consistently.”
Congratulations to team Material Gworlz for taking a win for Coronado, and to all the other Coronado teams that competed. We will cheer them on as they head to worlds on April 25-27th, 2023.