Johnny Martin | Reporter
Clovis North Robotics team “Stable Circuits” qualified for Nationals after receiving the Rookie All-Star Award at the FIRST Central Valley Regional Robotics competition on March 4.
“That’s not even the highlight, I mean it’s great don’t get me wrong but I have to tell you when we started this year my goal and maybe it was kind of low in the beginning, but I just wanted a robot that moves,” Clovis North coach Mary Allen said. “I mean seriously, it takes 600 lines of code to program the robot, to get everything talking to each other it’s a lot, so for us when the robot was zipping down the halfway in only our fifth day as a team that was amazing.”
For the competition, the team had six weeks to design, prototype, build and drive a robot that would collect 5-inch wiffle balls from bins off of the floor and shoot them 10 feet into the air into a basketball hoop type target. Once that was done, the 120 pound robot must climb a rope and hang there until the end of the two and a half minute match.
“When the robot competed and the students upped the bar and said ‘let’s shoot, let’s pick up balls and let’s lift and do all of these things, our robot didn’t even move in our first match,” Allen said. “But the highlight was in match five where we autonomously programmed the robot and we told it how far to go and it did it so we’re screaming and going crazy. ‘Then they took control of it and we’re shooting balls doing everything and then that rope drops and the robot goes up the rope and it stays there, everything we worked for came together at that exact match.”’
After numerous matches and answering questions with the judges, questions that the students had to answer completely on their own, the team finished ninth out of the 47 that competed and were one of just six rookie teams in the event.
“Honestly, I’ve been on other robotics teams before and I’ve made it to various championships before but this time it feels different,” senior team captain Aliya Kusumo said. “It’s the fact that I know where we started from and the fact that we worked so hard and how dedicated we’ve been and how well we’ve competed, the fact that we started from nothing and we were able to achieve something great.”
Their finish, however, was not enough for them to qualify for Nationals, but they were then awarded the Rookie All Star Award for displaying the ideals of FIRST, coopertition (cooperative completion) and gracious professionalism. Because of their performance as a first year team and them graciously helping five other teams throughout the event, they were awarded with the honor of qualifying for Nationals.
“It means a lot, I’ve done a lot of work with this team so it makes me very happy to be a part of that,” senior Cynthia Tyra said.
Cynthisizer as her teammates call her, was one of the team members that lead the effort to help the other teams in need.
“I saw that they needed a couple of fixes on their robot that would make it qualify with the rules that were set and I fixed it and then I helped them with the electronics,” Tyra said. “I felt that I or we as a team should go help other rookie teams like that one who needed help and I wanted to help them so they could be at their maximum potential.”
In an ironic occurrence, the Fugman Elementary, P.O.P. (Protector of Pets), the team that “Stable Circuits” mentors, also qualified for Nationals after winning the Central California FIRST Lego League Championships. They will go to Nationals prior to when the Clovis North team heads in April.
“Brian and his older brother helped mentor the Fugman team and they’re going to nationals before we go,” Allen said. “In helping those younger kids builds a stronger foundation for young ladies like this to be a part of a high school team and be successful for years to come.”