Robotics team advances to state competition


c menefee photo

Seniors Preston Mosley and Jade Morales fine-tune their robot during competition. Classmates Erica Rios and Bryce Burwitz also helped build the robot, but did not attend the contest.

    One, Two, Three, LEGO!

    After months of preparation, the high school engineering math class and junior high robotics club competed at the Area 6 TCEA robotics competition last Saturday at Trinity High School. Both groups built and programmed their robots to complete many small tasks inside a natural disaster simulation. The robots themselves were made exclusively out of the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits along with the included software. Seniors Jade Morales and Preston Mosley took first place and will compete at the state level at Deer Park High School on April 12.

    “I’m really glad we advanced to the state level after our hard work on our robot,” senior Jade Morales said. “The competition was intense because everything had to be perfect in order for it to work like it was supposed to. Even with the last minute programming, we still managed to pull it off in the end.”

    The main objective of the game was for each team to rack up as many points as possible by completing small tasks on the game board. Some of these tasks included erecting a radio tower, removing all the safety pillars from the drop zone and transporting families to safe zones. All of these objects were represented by plumbing pipes, checkers, and LEGO Mindstorm pieces.

    “The competition was really intense because in order to gain points, your robot had to work flawlessly,” sophomore Daniel Rogers said. “I had fun programming the robot, but everything had to be precise which made it a little hard.”

    Each team was responsible for building and programming their own robot with guidance from technology administrator and engineering math teacher Kyle Gleghorn. The process took several months to complete and required some after school work sessions for the junior high students. One junior high team won first place and may still advance to state; because the two teams placing first and second were competing out of their area due to bad weather the day of their own contest, the junior high team consisting of Landon Folsom, Colby Menefee and Ethan Doyle was actually first among the area’s junior high teams. The team is waiting on a decision from the organization on who will actually compete.

    “For this being our first competition with autonomous robots, I was very pleased with the overall performance of the teams,” Gleghorn said. “Since we are now more familiar with the competition, I have some positive changes to make for next year that could make us even more successful.”