Robotics team competes in state championship


Jacob Deighton

Senior Patrick Sanchez makes an adjustment to the team’s robot during the First Tech Challenge (FTC) State Championship March 4 at Missouri S&T in Rolla.

Nick Einig, Staff Writer

DuRT went head-to-head with schools across the state in a tournament for the FIRST Tech Challenge last weekend. The team finished 17th place overall in the state of Missouri.

The robotics class built a small Erector set size robot in the fall for the team to use in the tournament. The team went through several qualification matches, where they placed high enough to move on to the conference qualifier. There, they placed high enough to move on to the state tournament.

“For a first-year team to make it to state is almost unheard of,” Robotics coach Anthony Strawhun said. “And to be as highly ranked as they were during the State competition was just awesome.”

The name of the game for this season is Velocity Vortex. Velocity Vortex is played on a 12-foot square field with 1-foot high walls. The sides of the field are divided into a red team and a blue team. This challenge consisted of scoring whiffle balls into a high goal which emulated a basketball hoop or a low goal into the corners of the field. Another way of scoring points was to turn a beacon to a team’s color and if it was that team’s color by the end of the match that team would score points. The team with the most points by the end of the match won.

“It is every bit as awesome as a sports event,” Strawhun said. “The energy in the room is almost tangible, everyone is just so excited.”

The top teams that had the most points by the end of the qualifiers choose other teams to be their partners further in the competition. The robotics team ended up not getting picked to move on further in the tournament.

This is the end of the season for the FIRST Tech Challenge team. On March 9-10, the FIRST Robotics Competition team is building a bigger robot for the regional event, where they could qualify to move on to the National Championship directly from this regional event.

“We got a very strong and solid robot this year,” Strawhun said. “If the boys get in their practice and work together we got a very good chance of doing very well this weekend.”