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Flint Hill Hosts Preliminary Robotics Competition

Preparation+for+the+competition+in+the+arena.+
Preparation for the competition in the arena.

Preparation for the competition in the arena.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Walcott

Photo Credit: Stephanie Walcott

Preparation for the competition in the arena.

By Rod Aryan, News Editor

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While most of the student body was outside on the bleachers cheering on the football team during their state championship game, students who take part in the Applied Robotics class were inside gearing up for their first test run of the young robotics season. They went through their checklists, fixing any loose screws and compiling their last bits of code in preparation for the casual competition against the other schools that would soon arrive.

Flint Hill team readies their bot. Photo credit: Stephanie Walcott

Around twenty schools from the Northern Virginia area came to Flint Hill in order to prepare themselves for the arduous FTC (First Tech Challenge) season ahead. At the event, labeled as a “Meet The Field” fixture, robotics teams have the chance to test their code and robot functionality on a replica competition field. This experience is invaluable because many other teams do not have the resources to create their own replica field, which is why Flint Hill is very fortunate to be able to have their own. The final set up included a multitude of team stations and two full-sized replica fields located in the commons.

“The entire day was very beneficial for all the teams involved,” said sophomore Devin Host. “It was invaluable to be able to finally test our work against teams outside of our own school and see how we match up against the competition.”

For many of the members of the Applied Robotics class, the “Meet The Field” event was their first time in a regulated competition environment. The class contains an enormous amount of sophomores and freshmen who have been drawn into robotics for the first times in their academic careers.

A team of underclassmen prepares their robot. Photo credit: Stephanie Walcott

“Seeing all the different age groups getting involved with the competition was very exciting to see,” said Class Manager and senior Vale Tolpegin. “It’s crucial for the younger members of our high school to get involved now and gain this experience so that we as a school can be successful for years to come.”  

Creating chemistry between teammates was a main goal for most groups involved as the weekly practices that Flint Hill usually gets are not enough to prepare for competition day. For example, the coaches and drivers for each team need to be on the same page consistently during the event or else a team could miss out on crucial points. Because of this, a huge emphasis was put onto listening to teammates and improving teamwork throughout the day.

“At the beginning of the year, everyone was basically only looking out for themselves,” said senior Matthew Eye. “But, as time went on, we started to gel together and play to our strengths which really helped us out.”

Compared to previous years, the Applied Robotics class looks as poised as ever under Upper School Computer Science and Robotics Teacher Michael Snyder to win a deluge of awards for the FTC season. From the looks of it, all of Flint Hill’s teams used the “Meet The Field” event to improve their robots and take the next step towards contending for future prizes.

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Flint Hill Hosts Preliminary Robotics Competition