PHS Robotics team travels to Texas to compete at Worlds


Photo Courtesy of Kate Miller

Members of team 3189 compete during the FTC World Championship.

Grinding gears and whining motors were common to hear in Houston, Texas April 19-22 at the First Tech Challenge World Robotics Championship. One Powell High School team competed at Worlds this year.

Team 3189, or Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly, consists of Dexter Opps, Mason Coombs, Lukas Legler, Brighton Streeter, Dallin Waite, Alan Crawford and Elias Brower. They were accompanied by team managers Isabelle Lobingier, Katelynn Miller and Nolan Reitz as well as Robotics coaches Mr. Joel Hayano, Mrs. Lenita Moore and Mr. Hans Hawley.

“It was a great experience,” Legler said. “We got to go to an Astros baseball game and the NASA Space Center.”

Team 3189 took 31st place out of the 48 teams in their division. The 192 teams competing were divided into four divisions, and the best team from each division competed in the finals.

Each match is two and a half minutes long. The first 30 seconds is an autonomous period in which the team is not allowed to touch the controllers. Robots have the chance to score in multiple ways during the autonomous period. This is followed by two minutes of driver controlled competition, and the last 30 seconds are the end game during which teams have additional scoring opportunities.

“I feel like we could have tuned up our [autonomous program] a little bit more before competition because it wasn’t 100%,” Opps said.

This year’s First Tech Challenge game consisted of stacking cones on poles of varying heights. The taller the cone stacks on the pole, the more points each cone stacked is worth. In each match, teams are assigned a random alliance partner and the two teams are labeled either red team or blue. The red and blue teams compete against each other to gather the most points before the end of the match. Since alliances are randomly assigned, teams may be working together one match and against each other the next. Before each match, alliance partners have some time to discuss their approach.

They never broke down during a match. When we got matched up with good teams, we did really well, and when we got matched up with not as good teams, we kind of struggled.

— Mr. Hayano

“Our outreach was pretty good as far as talking to other teams,” Legler said. “We would collaborate with our alliance partners before each round to be sure that we knew what their strengths and weaknesses were and to come up with a strategy.”

Without proper communication, working with another team can be hindering rather than helpful.

“They never broke down during a match,” Mr. Hayano said. “When we got matched up with good teams, we did really well, and when we got matched up with not as good teams, we kind of struggled.”

Team 3189 is entirely made up of freshmen and sophomores. The team was awarded one of the top awards of FTC, the Inspire Award, which takes into account all aspects of the team’s performance and their gracious professionalism, a key value of FTC.

“At the Wyoming State Competition we won overall and we also won the Inspire Award which takes into account your design process and community outreach,” Opps said. “Our goal for next year is to qualify for World’s again and take more Powell teams with us.”