Robotics team attends first competition

Robotics team attends first competition

Chaney Wynne

On Nov. 12, Decatur’s robotics team, Global Dynamics, travelled 30 miles to Douglas County High School to compete in the first robotics competition of the year.

A total of 34 teams participated in the competition–three of them from Decatur.  The week before competition, the robotics club met every single day after school to prepare. On November 12th, one team even spent their Saturday working on their robot.

Even with the hard work the teams devoted to building competitive robots, the club members faced several challenges.

Walden Hillegass, a sophomore in robotics, said the biggest challenge was the “extremely tight deadline.” The teams only had about five weeks to build a functional robot. The teams also faced the loss of influential seniors that graduated last year, as well as increased number of freshmen.

“Many of the team members were freshmen who were inexperienced, so we had to get them up to speed while building the robot,” he said.

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Walden Hillegass and Zachary Slaton’s robot came in 19th place out of 34 competing robots. Photos courtesy of Walden Hillegass

His team ended up coming in 19th place, but Hillegass believes his team “could do better.”

“There were a couple matches that didn’t quite go the way we wanted,” he said, but he wasn’t disappointed with his team’s performance overall.

“Our robot was more competitive than I thought it would be,” he said, “but based on how good our robot was, I’m surprised we didn’t place higher.”

Freshman Zachary Slaton also expected a better ranking. “I expected my team to place better, but our robot experienced some unexpected problems and some of our matches were difficult to score in,” he said.

The other Decatur teams came in 31st and 33rd place in the competition, and while they didn’t perform as well as they hoped, they are optimistic about the upcoming competition in January.

“One of our biggest goals for next competition is to make our autonomous more effective. Another one of our goals is that we’re going to add a mechanism to shoot wiffle balls into the target,” Hillegass said. In addition, he wants to improve communication between team members.

Slaton is looking forward to the rest of his time in robotics and sharing the challenges with his teammates. For him, “meeting new people who have similar interests” has made joining Decatur’s robotics club a worthwhile experience.