WO Robotics goes to Nationals

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Kayla Lebster

Two weekends ago, the West Ottawa Robotics Club traveled to St. Louis, Missouri for the National Robotics Competition. 23 WO students made the trip along with supportive family and friends. While the team did not perform as well as they had hoped, they still made great memories and had amazing experiences throughout the trip.

  The trip began early in the morning when the members of the club boarded a Cardinal bus and set off for the Dome at America’s Center. “As soon as we got there, we went to the venue. Only five people from our team could go in to put our pit together, pit being like where our tools and robot stays. As those five were done, we walked around and saw things like the scholarship row, and then we had practice matches,” Soph. Cayla Khoung said.

  Then the actual competitions began. Robotics competitions are basically obstacle courses that teams’ robots must get through. First, robots must complete “The Quest.” Robots operate independently for the first 15 seconds of the Quest. “Their task at that point is to score points by reaching opponents’ defenses, crossing defenses, and scoring boulders through goals in the opposing tower,” Khoung said. After that, human drivers take control for the final 2 minutes and 15 seconds, controlling their robot to complete several other tasks. From there, are several other obstacle courses to complete, such as the Outer Works, the Tower, and the Capture.

  In the end, after the WO Robotics team had finished all their tasks, they awaited the results. “We didn’t do as great as we wished we had, but we did try our hardest. We ended at rank 54 of 75 divisions. Sadly, we didn’t get picked to play in the finals,” Khoung said.

  However, the team didn’t let the disappointment of not advancing keep them from having a fun trip. “On our last day, we had a finale with Stikyard, which is a percussion band that had awesome rhythmic beats. We also saw Jesse White Tumblers, and they’re a group of gymnasts who can do crazy flips and such. Then, we ended off with Eclipse, which was a group of shadow making people. They stood behind a screen and could make awesome shadow like figures,” Khoung said.

  The team hopes that in the future, they will receive a better ranking when competing in the robotics competition. But for now, they are content with the experiences they had while down in Missouri and the memories that they made with their fellow robotics team members.