The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

Portola High Hosts First Ever VEX Robotics Regional Competition

Portola High hosted a VEX Robotics regional competition, named Bulldog Rumble, totaling 40 participating teams from all over Southern California on Jan. 14. The competition was a collective effort, with Project Katari, a Portola High club dedicated to nurturing STEM talent, team 3759x (Virtuoso) and the Portola High engineering department making the tournament a reality.

The game for the 2023-2034 VEX Robotics competition, Over Under, involves pushing triballs into certain territories, scoring points in a two versus two format, according to VEX Robotics. Thirty-two out of the 40 contending teams made it to the elimination round, including Portola High’s own 7874R (rangu) and 7874X (Commanders).

“Last year we went to a lot of tournaments, and we thought it would be interesting to host one ourselves,” student host and senior Pranav Patlola said. “I thought this was a joke — Martin was talking about it at first. He’s like, ‘you know the best way to raise money? It’s just to host a competition.’”

Teams 742A (PerryBoticsA) and 6627B (Knight Time Bots B) took home the Tournament Champions award, taking down their opponents Team 2496Y (BHS Robopatties Y) and Team 7700R (Rolling Robots) in a 90-72 victory. Other distinctions, including the Judges’ Choice Award and Excellence Award, were given to teams 1159X (Expedite) and 393V (Legacy Robotics), respectively.

In addition to Patlola and other student hosts, a variety of students were brought on as volunteers to keep the operations running smoothly. Volunteers acted as referees, judges, snack bar workers and more, according to Patlola.

“It’s tougher than I imagined,” tech desk volunteer and senior Brian Jing said. “Coming into a tournament without seeing how it’s set up, you would think that it takes much less work than it actually does. Setting up the equipment beforehand took basically a full day and even then, we had lots of work to do the morning after. I also had to learn how to run the tournament manager software, which was difficult.”

Nearly 300 combined students, alumni and parents attended the competition, making it one of the largest student-hosted events in Portola High history.

“You know — the community of robotics students — we treat each other very nicely, and we will always be very closely knit to each other,” competition attendee and Portola Engineering alumnus Dexi Lin said. “[Robotics] has grown significantly. I know the FRC team has over 50 people this year. I love it. It’s very cool to see how much PHS has grown, how much it will continue to grow.”

The event provided IUSD board members the confidence to fund a robotics program at Portola High, with robotics students also being invited to speak at an IUSD board meeting, according to Patlola.

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About the Contributor
Michael Sun, Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor
Michael Sun is the assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor and also a part of the business team for his second and final year in Pilot. He likes good Asian food, viewpoint diversity, and indie music.
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