Robotics team returns from nationals

Robotics  team returns  from  nationalsMembers of the BHS Robotics Club (from left) are Aidan Murphree, Zeneve Jacotin, Samantha Lail, Lars Bartels, Cameron Thornton and Akif Dhar — Courtesy photo

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By EMILY ARALAR

Burroughs High School Blockbuster

The Robotic Burros headed to Iowa for the Vex Nationals competition on April 4. Competing against 200 other high school teams, the team advanced to the quarterfinals of its division — placing among the top eight out of 60 teams.

The competition began with a qualifying round, during which the Burros were ranked 23 out of 60. The team then paired with the No. 5 seed in its division before being eliminated in the third round.

Senior Aidan Murphree was positive about the team’s performance and accomplishment.

“Nationals were pretty similar to last year — we placed the same rank as last year, but we paired with a really good team and made it farther,” said Murphree. “Our team was really productive, everyone was on task and we all worked together to make it to quarter finals.”

The Burroughs Robotics Club has competed at Nationals for three of its four years of existence.

The team has had much success this season, including winning tournament champion in its league and thereby qualifying for state and national competition.

Team members have competed with the robot, JAT 2.0, which they have been building since last May.

The robot was designed to shoot balls and flip items to score points during a two-minute competition against other robots. The students program the robot to complete tasks autonomously, then drive the robot with a remote controller and battle against opposing robots.

Even though the season just ended, the club is heading into next year with enthusiasm.

Junior Samantha Lail hopes to carry on the Robotic Burros’ legacy. “I learned a lot from this competition, and I look forward to being able to use the skills I’ve learned throughout the season,” said Lail. “Hopefully we can make it to Nationals again next year.”

Burroughs teacher and Robotics Advisor Damien Jacotin praised the team’s accomplishments.

“The team transcended the technical aspects of building a competitive robot and explored what it means to organize merchandising, community outreach and fundraising,” said Jacotin. “They became a group of friends and are preparing next year’s students to follow in their footsteps.”

He said teammembers’ collaborative skills were a factor in their success. “Everybody has a role and trusted others to do their part: that was the strength of this team.”

He said that he hopes the team leaves a legacy of excellence and that next year is as successful.

“Who knows? We might make it to World!”

Story First Published: 2019-04-19