The Pacific Times | The Only Student-Run News Website in Natomas

Robotics Teams Prepare For State Championship

By Krista Chouang
Co-Editor | The Pacific Times

All five robotics teams head to the state championship to wrap up their busiest competition season in recent history.

Throughout the nine tournaments, the five teams racked up a total of eight awards, qualifying the respective teams for the state championship.

Team B, consisting of members Julian Padilla, Katrina Jesusa Nazareno, Abigail Lewis, Surya Deep Tanikella, Ethan Tang, and Viktor Ramirez Nieves, won the most awards, starting with the Innovate Award at Placer County, Tournament Champion at Ceres, Tournament Finalist and Design Award at Chico, and the Judges Award at the Battle for Placer Gold.

“When we get the awards I’m always incredibly excited and proud of our team for how far we’ve gotten and what we’ve done to get the award,” said Lewis. “Design (award) I feel is totally deserved since Katrina does an amazing job on notebook, but it’s so crazy to think about how far we’ve come especially considering how we did last year…it’s so crazy to me but I’m very proud of our team.”

Team A, with members Arjun Balasa, Arjan Singh, Andrew Le, Hillary Huynh, Ivan Kurilenko, and Krista Chouang, were awarded the Design Award at Winters and Tournament Champion at Florin.

Team C, with members Vivian Mai, Alvin Ao, Rohan Price, Aahil Iqbal, Jireh Owen, and Mackaelan Songco, won Tournament Champion alongside Team B at Ceres.

Although Team D and Team E did not win states-qualifying awards, they qualified for the state championship through placing high on the region’s skills ranking. Robots’ skills are evaluated by how many points they are able to score by driver skills and by programming in one minute.

At the most recent tournament, called Battle for Placer Gold, members of the team dressed up in formal wear to celebrate the last normal tournament of the season.

“Dressing up in suits or formal clothing on our last competition before States has always been a tradition for the Robotics Team, and it’s so unifying and fun to dress up and look nice with everyone on the team,” said Huynh. “It makes us stand out, gets us compliments, and also marks the approaching end of the season. I think that this is an important tradition to carry forward and I hope the Robotics Team continues to dress up in future years.”

Each team spends months building and improving their robot to perform better at competitions. Members from each team shared about which unique feature they are most proud of on their robot.

“My favorite part about Winny is our rotational puncher,” said Team E member Kaylee Chouang. Team E refers to their robot as Winny, short for Winston Wiggle-No-More. “We have had it since our second competition, and it has always been our strongest suit, and we will take it to States with the additional features on our robot.”

Le, the driver for Team A, believes that NP3 teams have a high chance of winning the state championship and going to the World Championship.

“I think at states we have a good chance of being able to go to the finals and qualify for worlds,” he says. “What makes me think this is our development of our new robot and the improvement of our drive team that enables us to beat other top tier teams in the Bay Area. For the awards…we’re cooked.”

However, Team D driver Guy Gong is not as confident about qualifying for the World Championship.

“Zero. Have you seen the other robots in California, in the Bay Area specifically?” said Gong. “They spend all their days working on robotics. We have three days max, plus Arjun and Andrew work during lunch so that’s an extra thirty minutes, but other teams have all day every day after school and during school…I’m sure we’ll get pretty far, considering what we have, farther than we think, but I’d be surprised if we make it to semis.”

The five teams will be heading to Tracy on March 10 for the state competition. If they win any awards, they will be eligible to compete at the World Championships from April 25 to April 27 in Dallas, Texas. Since the championship coincides with NP3 prom on April 26, juniors and seniors on the team are preparing for the possibility of missing prom for Worlds.

“I would most likely be choosing Worlds just because it’s a once in a lifetime experience just to be with your team and meet so many people across the world,” said Mai, a senior who already bought her prom ticket. “Knowing you made it that far and qualify is amazing. Plus Prom is just one day and Worlds is 3 days, I would much rather be able to miss school three days and go to another state than a one day thing.” said Mai.

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