Robotics season begins

Typically when somebody thinks of competition at the high school level, they might think of football, basketball or any other sport, but a unique form of competition that is commonly overlooked is robotics. Robotics is a high school club competition in which teams from different schools build and program robots designed to complete specific tasks.
Newton High School’s robotics team has a favorable competitive track record, having placed at regional competition multiple times in the past four years.
“We won regionals last year. The previous year, we came close to winning, and my freshman year we won another regional competition,” senior Ash Gibson said. “If you win at regionals you have the opportunity to go to what’s called nationals or worlds, which all the winning robots go and complete compete with their robot.“
Every year, FIRST Robotics, the company that runs the robotics competitions, creates a prompt. This prompt serves as a standard that each team’s robot must meet in order to stand a chance at competition.
“We learn the rules on the first saturday in January. This year is Infinite Recharge, which basically means we have to incorporate the use of a reusable energy source,” Gibson said. “At competition this year we have to build a robot capable of grabbing 7-inch balls and putting them into a tower that is eight feet tall.”
Robotics differs from other team sports at the high school in the sense that the coach/sponsor for the team is just one of the team member’s parent, instead of being a staff member at the high school.
“I know that Madison Vermilyea and Ash Gibson have been on the team for all four years, her Dad is actually our sponsor. I’ve been a member for three years, and the rest of our members are first or second year members, from what I can remember,” senior Ricardo Lopez said.
Similar to how a sports team would have an off season to prepare for the upcoming competitive season, robotics has what is called build season, where they spend all their time designing, building, and programming their robots.
“Build season started at the beginning of January, and we have to have our robot ready by mid-February in order to compete,” Gibson Said. “I’m hoping for a good season. Going to for sure try and take home another regional victory.”