Robotics Team Qualifies for Quarterfinals in Competition Playoffs

During the robotics competition, the team created robots that picked up balls and put them in the basket.“My favorite experience was cheering for our team with everyone clapping in the stands and waving our team flag,” sophomore Selina Syed said “It took us months to prepare, and we started brainstorming ideas right away as this year’s competition was released. We had changed our design and finally decided on one that we continued to build.”
(Photo Courtesy of Selina Syed)

The FIRST Robotics team competed in the Orange County Robotics competition at the OC Fair Grounds in the first in-person competition since 2019. The team qualified for playoffs but were eliminated in quarterfinals on March 10-12.

Due to the limited resources such as building materials, the team had volunteers to help financially and were resourceful in assessing problems with their robots, such as changing the design, according to physics teacher Ryan Johnson.

In January, the Orange County Robotics competition revealed a set of instructions for building a robot, which changes every year according to Johnson. The basic rules of building the robot are the same throughout the years. However, this year the main focus was to have the robot climb onto a structure, the movement of the ball and how it was shot.

“We thought that we really played our best, and we were able to advance in the competition,” Johnson said. “Even though our budget for the robot was very low, and the amount of time we could spend to build was limited as well.”

The teams brought their robots to the competition and competed against other teams to gain the most points possible. Then based on their performance in the qualification rounds, they qualified for the playoffs in which the teams selected alliances to play against each other in the elimination part of the competition to find the best alliance.

“The competition was exciting, but it was still stressful,” sophomore Selina Syed said. “It was a mix of all emotions. At first I was very nervous when entering the qualification matches, but we did well during those and made it to top ten the second day.”

For many robotics students, like sophomore Arya Karra, it was their first competition, and they were able to practice their engineering, coding and design skills while bonding over their love of robots, according to Karra.

“Growing up, I was always interested in robots and computers, so joining robotics this year has been a dream come true,” Karra said. “I can guarantee that I’ve learned a lot from being a part of the team and having such amazing mentors.”

In the future, the robotics team hopes to continue competing and advance to the finals, according to Johnson.

“I think having a large challenge, like building this robot over the course of two months and learning about the way that you need to work together as a group to overcome those challenges, is a very important skill that you will need for basically anything that you do after high school,” Johnson said. “So I think getting the chance to practice that mindset of accepting a challenge and using the help of other people to accomplish your goals is something that I really want people to get out of this and continue in the future.”