Spring Break Robotics Competition Puts Dimond on Track for Worlds

Dimond´s First Robotics Competition Team travelled to Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon over Spring Break for two weekends of competitions at the PAC Northwest Districts.

The team, composed of 16 students, was in the Lower 48 from March 7 to March 19. The 12-day trip was lead by Wade Roach, an engineering teacher at Dimond and FRC coach.  

The captain of the team, Senior Nikira Lane, said, “The trip was a great experience for us to have and makes being on the Robotics team almost cool.”

The team has been making their robot for two months and working hard to design, build, wire and code it.

The competitions consist of a game where two teams control their robots and put hatch panels and cargo on both a rocket ship and a cargo ship. They then have to get safely back to their habitat, or home base.

It is timed, which makes the pressure to perform and the intensity of the game quite high.

Everyone on the team has a role. The drive team consists of five people and the rest of the team work to fix the robot and scout the other team’s robots and strategy.

It´s a very student-run sport and Roach, their mentor, is not allowed to assist them during the actual competition. The drive team, which controls the robot and its movements, has a captain and different levels of authority, so that they can best work together and be efficient.

The team was awarded the Judges Award in the first competition and the Engineering Inspiration Award in the second competition.

Senior Taylor Johnson, captain of the drive team, said, “The Judges Award is more of a pity award for traveling all the way from Alaska, but the Engineering Inspiration Award meant a lot to us.”

The Engineering Inspiration Award is the second most prestigious award in the competition. If they receive this award in their next competition, District Championships, the Robotics Team will go to Worlds. The award means that the team encourages engineering and STEM principles in their community.

To receive the award they had to go in for an interview, but the interview was during one of their matches. Three of the drive team members went in for the interview, which caused a lot of confusion during the match.

The outcome was a lost match, but the winning of an even greater prize.

The FRC team had a lot of fun activities to do during the time they spent on the trip. Only four of the 12 days were actually spent in the competition.

One activity that was much loved by the team was a photo scavenger hunt around Seattle. They were dropped off at Pike Place Market and given a list of photos they needed before they met up three hours later.

Things like a proposal, kissing a fish, a stranger holding up a sign with the team´s name, etc. were on the list.

Johnson said, “It was the best part of the trip.”

In Portland, the team visited Voodoo Donuts, Powell’s Book Store and the Japanese Gardens.

They also had pit set up before the competitions and a lot of trips to Panera to fill up their days. The team played a lot of card and board games at night.

Senior Taylor Zagrocki, a member of the robotics team, said, “‘Spot It’ with Roach was a highlight of the trip and by far the most popular board game.”

Zagrocki also wanted to mention that she was the undefeated champion of air hockey and crushed everyone.

The team would like to thank many sponsors that made their trip possible. The entrance fee to be in each competition was $10,000. Companies like ConocoPhillips, BP, Moose’s Tooth, Shorts Industries, Madson, Juneau Economic Development and a lot more contributed great amounts to make their robot dreams come true.

At the end of the week they stopped by IKEA, where Roach bought five lamps before heading to the airport.