Robotics rocks the competition

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Photo Provided

A few members of the robotics team celebrate with a photo after taking on a qual. Dzialendzik (far left) and Crull(2nd from right) are included in this group.

Olivia Lane , Managing Editor

From April 7 to 9, Edmond Memorial High School’s Robotics Team, the Irondogz, took on the Oklahoma Regional Robotics Competition. After months of building their robot to fit the qualifications of the game, they were able to beat 46 other teams and came out in the top five.

Every robotics season, roughly a 100 page manual is published outlining the rules and guidelines of that year’s game according to senior mechanical design team captain Carson Crull.

The goal of this year’s game was for the robot to be able to throw a softball of a specific size and pressure into two goals of different heights, and each goal earns a point for the team. At the end of each round, the robot must climb up several hangars, and each level that the robot makes earns the team more points.

One of the ways that the Irondogz took fifth place was by having a cohesive plan for how they were going to build their robot before starting construction. 

“Compared to other teams, I like to think we focused a lot on making our robot very streamlined,” Crull said. “Like one of the things that we decided pretty early on is that we weren’t gonna go for the highest level of climbing.”

By not building their robot to climb all four levels, they could focus more on building their robot to make the most points with the main goal of the game: throwing the softball into the designated goals.

“I’d say our robot is unique because it takes a bunch of different good designs from ideas that other teams have had,” senior programming team captain Ilya Dzialendzik said. “What we’ve done is basically make a robot that is very efficient at shooting balls into the top goal and climb one of the bars very efficiently and quickly.”

According to both Dzialendzik and Crull, this year was a major improvement from previous years because of the nature of their planning. Years in the past did not have this privilege.

“Freshman year we did quite poorly, and we were, out of about 50 teams, in the bottom 10. We did really poorly because we just didn’t plan very well,” Dzialendzik said.

This year, the team planned everything in advance, building and testing one piece before moving on to the next. They even acquired some help from Edmond Santa Fe High School’s Robotics Team, using their CNC Mill, a machine used for cutting industrial materials, because Memorial does not have one.

“I think we’ve done excellent this year, and I think a lot of it comes down to collaborating with Santa Fe. We would not have done nearly as well as we did if we hadn’t been working with Santa Fe’s machines,” Crull said.

As for next year, the Irondogz’ teacher sponsor, Mike Sanford, will miss this year’s senior class. With losing a large class of seniors filled with various leadership roles in a team of only about 20, positions will need to be filled.

“We’ll need our underclassmen next year to step up because we’re losing a big senior class. We have this strong senior leadership and they’re all [leaving],” Sanford said.

This year’s senior class has made a large impact on the success of the team, and senior Crull wants to continue that impact by making it clear that robotics can be for anyone.

“Robotics is probably one of the coolest, most fulfilling things you can be in. Even if you don’t really know what you want to do going into it, you can find something you really enjoy as long as you have the motivation,” Crull said.

Contact Olivia Lane at [email protected]