Robocats bring home awards from FIRST Tech Challenge
By Annette Tait
In only their second year of competition, the Center-Stanton Robocats robotics team is doing something right. The team brought home not just one, but three awards from the regional FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition held recently at Bismarck State College – a second-place trophy in the robotics alliance competition, where teams are randomly assigned to work together, two against two; a second-place Think Award trophy, for their review and analysis process as shown in the team’s engineering notebook, and the first-place Rockwell-Collins Innovate Award. The Innovate Award “celebrates a team that not only thinks outside the box, but also has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life.” The judged award is given to the team that has the most innovative and creative robot design solution to any or all of the specific field elements or components in the game.
“This is our second year participating at FTC and for us to go up against schools who have been doing it much longer with a much bigger budget attests to our students’ dedication and hard work,” Robocats Advisor and Center-Stanton High School Agriculture Education Instructor Nikki Fideldy said, noting that the team competed against schools from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.
Last year, Robocat team members began their first-ever effort to build a robot for the FTC competition by trying to figure out, “Where do you start when building a robot?”
As it turned out, their second year in competition started in much the same way. Not only are there no instructions, the challenge, or “game” as it’s called, changes every year.
“This year was a little bit harder,” Team Member Shawn Heilman said. “This year we were a little more prepared. We were able to put more things on our robot than last year, and it worked a little better.”