Robotics team fails to advance to regional finals

Erina Szeto

The robotics team competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition’s Los Angeles Regional event in Long Beach March 21-23 but did not qualify for regional finals.

The competition challenged the team to create a robot with the objective of playing a game called Ultimate Ascent. In each two-minute fifteen-second match, two opposing alliances composed of three robots each tried to score discs into goals. Different points were awarded based on the heights of the goals scored in.

“The advancement process is heavily based on rankings which are determined not by your own robot’s performance, but by the performance of the random three-robot Alliances in which each team competes. We were handicapped this year by extremely bad luck in our Alliances – we were almost always the best robot on our Alliance, and several times we accounted for all the points scored on our Alliance’s side of the match. We all feel that, ignoring the quirks and random chance of the advancement process, our robot this year was more than good enough to have earned a place in the Finals,” team leader Josh Lappen ’13 said.

The 20-member team, led by science teacher Karen Hutchison and team leaders Dara Moghavem ’13 and Lappen spent three days at the Long Beach Arena competing. On Thursday, they set up their work area and tested their robot. Qualification matches took place on Friday and were completed on Saturday, after which alliance selection, final matches and awards closed the event.

In the six weeks approaching the event, the members split up into smaller groups to work on and test separate systems, culminating in the creation of a game-ready robot.

“In past years, the club has had issues with the reliability of our robots, so this year we opted to prioritize building something that would perform well consistently rather than reaching too far with our limited time and resources,” Moghavem said.

The Los Angeles Regionals is the team’s main event each year. They have also been preparing a waffle-making robot to make fundraising appearances on campus.