This weekend, the Union High School Robota Red team will compete in the State First Tech Challenge contest.
The team consists of Nathan Acuff, Ben Dvorak, and Tyler and Nathan Rottinghaus, and was recently joined by Jacob Scheel who replaces a team member who dropped out. Scheel was a member of the Robota Black/White team, which lost to the Red team during the regional competition last month in La Porte City.
“We have been building the robot since September,” says Acuff, a senior, “and we have had four qualifying competitions since then and the league championship at Union High School on January 14.” At that event, Robota Red finished 4th after the individual matches and earned the chance to to be a captain of an alliance in championship rounds.
The Union team members chose as partners Team 9950 the Tachyon Travelers of Mount Vernon, and Team 4389 the Higgs Bozos from East Buchanan in Winthrop.
“We ended up victorious, 2-1 in the best-of-three rounds,” says Acuff. “We then moved onto the final round against the 4th place alliance. There was no 3rd match of the final round, and we beat them 2-0. Robota Red was the winning alliance captain and our whole alliance moved onto the next round. The next event is the Superqualifer this Saturday, February 11, in Bettendorf. We will have a big booth set up in our pit area which will include a robot doctor station which will have any tools or parts that any other team will need. We will have inspections and a judge’s interview Saturday morning and qualifying rounds throughout the day. The day will finish out with the teams that are in finalist alliances in the championship round.”
Scheel says he was happy to join the Red team, after losing to them in the Regional event. The Black/White team advanced to the final rounds during last month’s regional contest.
“We did do fairly good in judging, but not good enough to move us on.” he said.
The students spend hours each week working on the contest.
“Our team has worked every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6:45 to 8:00 in the morning, including some weeks where we worked everyday and sometime from times up to four hours at night,” says Scheel, whose team also had a robot display during the Homecoming game.