Robotics Team Captures Stunning Victory

Marian Steinmann, Staff Writer

At a typical robotics competition, the EHS robotics team proudly returns home with anywhere from 10 to 50 points, according to senior Jackson Budwell. On Saturday, April 10, the team finished Botball 2020-2021 with upward of 148 points.

Budwell, who participated as the team’s primary operator of the Create bot and the secondary operator of the Lego bot, said the seven-hour competition yielded one of the team’s best performances, at least in the last four years.

The pandemic led to many of the team’s typical meetings being canceled until January of this year, when restrictions lifted and in-person meetings resumed.

Despite all the time the team missed, senior Alec Pizziferro said they performed much better than in past years.

“The game itself is pretty simple: build a robot to do automated tasks to collect points,” Pizziferro said.

Their objective may have been easy, but the competition’s virtual setting caused numerous setbacks, one of the largest being their workspace. When EHS attends these competitions in person, the team has a pre-built game table to work with. This year, the team had to build its own table to compete on before the competition even began.

“We had tested extensively and had time to practice before the competition,” Pizziferro said, “but the technicalities of remote were a little worrying.”

Other problems caused by the remote setting included incorrect scoring in certain rounds, problems with Zoom breakout rooms and the absence of a defined schedule.

During placement rounds, some of the bots even began to malfunction. Sophomore Peter Valkov, the mechanic for the Lego bot, said the team managed to fix the problem by running test runs between rounds.

“For our first tournament in a long time, I think we did pretty good,” Valkov said.

With the last competition of the year approaching, the EHS robotics team has one more opportunity to shine before their season is over and the team votes for next year’s leaders.

“I’m confident that our team will outperform expectations,” Budwell said, “and lead us to be the best EHS has ever seen.”