Ritenour “robo hounds” qualify for state robotics competition

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Ritenour “robo hounds” qualify for state robotics competition

Tabitha Peebles, Staff Reporter

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This past weekend of January 13th, the Ritenour Robo Hounds had a robotics meet and qualifier. At the qualifier, there were 40 teams and we managed to win six awards including the 1st place “Think Award”. Additionally, the Ritenour Robo Hounds qualified for state.

The robotics team has been preparing before the school year even began. They ended the previous school year with a huge planning meeting with their team.When the club gained their new team members they did a “season in a session” where they showed everyone an old robotics challenge video, in which they would go through the brainstorming and prototyping that they would for a real robot, all without actually building one.

The organization the team is under, FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) releases a challenge video around September, and immediately the team starts dissecting apart the video.

“With the help of our new mentor from Boeing this year, Michael Carbone, we try to figure out how we can create a robot to score as many points as possible while doing as less as we possibly can. After that, we begin brainstorming possible design ideas, prototyping, building, programming, and building up our brand. Our team has three different departments: build, program, and business, but we all work together to contribute to the success of our team”, Senior Jennifer Pham said.

The team is required to keep an Engineering Notebook that documents the journey that their team took, and that includes everyone’s work. A lot of awards from the team’s qualifiers are based off of the notebook.

“Earlier in the day of our qualifier, I had made a joke that our team was going to be nominated for every award and yet we were going to bring home nothing, so when the MC’s were calling out our name, saying, “3rd place, team 9099, the Ritenour Robo Hounds!” I thought my joke had come true, but we all thought that was kind of funny until we actually won the Think Award. The big deal was placing second for the Inspire Award, as it’s the only award that can advance you to State. When we got called for advancing, I kid you not, every girl on our team burst into tears, out of sheer relief and surprise.” Senior Jennifer Pham said.

One of the team’s coaches, technology teacher Christina DeMuri, gave the team a pep talk about how they can no longer do their best, but that they have to become the best.
“You do not have to worry about having the best robot at a competition anymore, because now the best of the best are competing against each other”, DeMuri said.

More than anything, the team does not want to be known as that little robotics team from Ritenour anymore. They do not want people putting a stigma against the school. They want people to recognize that Ritenour is a competitive entity that has built itself up through perseverance and hard work.

“This team is now beyond ourselves, because we are now representing our community, to give back for how much it’s been helping us”, Pham said.

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Ritenour “robo hounds” qualify for state robotics competition