Vex Robotics

Teams take 3rd, 21st

Tyler Birichard

On Saturday, Aug. 19, Seniors Damien Santiago and Liezl Rae Chan took their newly made robots and teams to their first competition at Sacred Hearts Academy. They competed against veteran teams from around the island, with team 1973B placing third and team 1973A placing twenty first. Now they work on refining their robots before their next competition on Sept. 29 to 30 at Waialua.

“We saw other robots from around the island and we got ideas from others; bounced off ideas and talked to other people about it,” said Chan. “We’re trying to make it our own and make it more efficient for us.”

At the end of their first competition, team 1973B, captained by Santiago, ended up placing in third. “I think that I did good because it was my first competition actually competing and so the fact that I took third place when there was other people that were more qualified than I am, I think I did fairly good,” said Santiago. Team 1973A, captained by Chan, placed 21st. “We didn’t place where I wanted to be. We didn’t go to finals. Basically, I don’t know what happened. Our drive just kept dying; our power expander and different power situations weren’t working out so we didn’t go as far as I wanted to,” said Chan.

Industrial Arts teacher Timothy Pregana, who has advised VEX for 12 years, 3 years at Waialua High School and 9 years at MHS, believes experience is the best lesson, “Sometimes you’ve just got to bite your lower lip and let them find their own path building their own robots and learn from the lessons at the competition,” said Pregana.

In addition to the difficulties faced at the competition, the teams faced challenges while building their robots. “Before, as I said, when I got the freshmen to join, they only got to join this year because school just started for them. So up until that point, I was the only person on my team that could come into work. So a task that should have been done in two weeks took me a month to do by myself,” said Santiago.

Chan also faced her own set of trials and tribulations. “It was hard for me to create ideas. I’m not really a creative person, I was just like, ‘give me instructions and I’ll do it,’” said Chan. That was the most difficult part, because that’s basically what you do in robotics: create whatever you think of.

Now, as the season is in full swing, the two teams are working on redesigning their robots
based off of the information they gathered at their first competition. “We have completely taken apart our robot and we’re starting from scratch, building something that is completely better than what we had before,” said Santiago. Chan’s team is doing exactly the same, as she describes the efforts her teammate, Senior Joseph Knaus, has been making in rebuilding the robot. “I think he’s preparing for it, making a whole new arm, making a whole new thing because we saw what was our weakness. He’s been prepping and giving out ideas,” said Chan.

The newly designed bots will first see action on Sept. 29 to 30 in the tournament at Waialua High School.