Robotics challenge a 'Lunacy'

Last weekend Crescenta Valley and Clark Magnet high schools’ robots faced 58 other teams in the Los Angeles regional competition through FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology).

The teams had been engineering their robots since winter break and both felt ready for the challenge. Each year FIRST creates a game that combines engineering skill with creativity and imagination. This year the game was called “Lunacy” and was a type of basketball on wheels. Robots had to travel across a lunar-type surface as both human and robotic players attempted to throw balls called moon rocks, empty cells and super cells into a basket attached to the trailer pulled by the robot.

Clark Magnet, team 696, and CVHS, team 589, competed well even though the rounds were difficult and at times fierce. Each robot had bumpers to protect itself but that didn’t stop them from being bumped, smashed and shoved by other robots. Each individual team is paired with two other teams that make up either blue or red alliance. At one point CVHS was the only team competing against three other teams.

“It was three against one but our guys didn’t get discouraged,” said CVHS teacher/mentor Greg Neat. “They just kept competing.”

At the end of the round the top individual teams can chose other teams to join their alliance. Clark was chosen by San Marino team and was joined by San Pedro in the final competition. That alliance was eliminated in the quarter finals but not without a valiant fight.

The robots and human team members are back at school, the competition ended on Saturday. The teams will rest for a few days then begin looking at what went right and what went wrong in preparation for next year.

Clark Magnet ended the regional competition with a ranking of 32, CVHS with a ranking of 39.

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