Robotics team attends First Tech Challenge

Skylar Smith, Sports and Fitness Editor

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On Sept. 10 the Xavier robotics team attended the First Tech Challenge (FTC). The FTC kickoff was held at Arizona State University (ASU) where they met other teams and discovered the 2016-2017 theme while learning new information at various seminars.

Junior Alondra Ramos, the head programmer for the team, described her excitement before the kickoff. “I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was very excited about seeing this year’s game and what teams we would have to compete with.”

This year the FTC is called “Velocity Vortex,” a game in which robots will have to compete against other teams’ robots while attempting to score by maneuvering balls into their respective vortexes. Each robot will also be programmed to operate during a 30-second autonomous period where the driver will not be able to control their robot.

“This year’s game is going to be a lot harder than last year’s. Our new robot will need to have more functions than just driving and lifting objects,” Ramos said.

The Xavier robotics team was very new compared to the other teams at the kickoff as this will be the team’s second year. The kickoff was a great way for the Xavier robotics team to be introduced to other teams. For Ramos, “The best part was branching out to meet the other teams in the Central Phoenix area. It turns out we have a lot in common with some of the newer teams.”

The team benefitted from the various seminars held at the kickoff, including programming, mechanical design and awards, all of which showed the Xavier team the areas for their improvement.

“I was in charge of the notebook last year,” junior Andy Muniz said, “But this year’s seminar on [documenting in the notebook] helped highlight what parts we needed to change to score higher.”

With the Xavier robotics team heading into their second competition year, the kickoff revealed higher stakes. “Overall, I learned that, though last year we made it to state, to place higher at competitions, we need to step up our game and continue to work closely as a team,” Muniz said.

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