By Mary O’KEEFE
Last weekend, after six weeks of designing and building, Crescenta Valley, Clark Magnet and La Cañada high schools’ robotic teams, with over 55 other teams, met on the competitive field.
The weekend was part of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Los Angeles Regional competition held in Long Beach. Teams from as far away as Chile sent robotic and human representatives to play this year’s game – a soccer-type challenge.
“I like making friends and talking to people from other countries,” said Edit Mirzakhanian, a Clark Magnet student.
Mirzakhanian with fellow students Amalia Hakobyan and Rubina Takhmazyan were enjoying their first trip to regionals.
“It’s nice to be able to build something that works,” Takhmazyan said.
The Clark team had competed in the San Diego Regional before Long Beach.
“That really helped. We made mistakes there so here we were ready,” said veteran team member Laura Widholm.
Crescenta Valley High School’s team did not go to San Diego. Team member Sam Sampson said competing in that event would have made them a stronger team in Long Beach.
“We are doing okay,” Sampson added.
Individual teams are paired with two other teams in an alliance. Two alliances face off on the field. The robot can make points by kicking a ball into a goal. Additional points can be earned if the robot does not touch the field at the end of the match. To accomplish this, some robots had arms that stretched to a tower on the field. The arm would hook onto the top pole of the tower, pulling the robot off the ground.
The teams competed in several matches during the weekend.
The Crescenta Valley team, with its robot named Samantha, started out strong but in the fourth match the robot’s chain broke. The team quickly repaired the problem and went back to compete. Like a true athlete Samantha worked through her broken chain and a brief and mysterious lack of power.
In the end, CVHS’s Samantha finished in 20th place, La Cañada in 37th and Clark Magnet in 41st.