Wellsboro High School’s newly-founded robotics team Hive Voltage made their debut at FIRST Tech’s robotics competition on Saturday, Jan. 21.
The FIRST Tech Challenge is an annual nation-wide competition where teams consisting of middle and high school students build and program robots to compete by scoring points on a playing field of cones, cubes and docks. Hive Voltage has been preparing since September to compete against 30 teams from across the state at Penn State York.
Although physics teacher and mentor Andy Borzok previously led student teams in this challenge when he taught in Maryland and Ohio, this is the first year of the robotics program at Wellsboro High School, as well as Hive Voltage’s first time in the FIRST Tech competition.
“It’s different,” said Hive Voltage member Jack Bryant.
Hive Voltage consists of nine high school students: Jack Bryant, Olivia Gage, Riley Kennedy, Isaac Macias, Maxwell Macias, Daniel Schultz, Caralyn Warner, Evelyn Wetherbee and Micah Vickery, and two mentors, Borzok and Shari Macias. They were all touching up the team’s robot last Thursday to be sure it was ready for the competition.
During the competition, points are scored primarily by scoring cones or cubes on the grid where the robots compete and docking on the robot’s charging station. Each match starts with a 15-second period where the opposing robots only operate on pre-programmed instructions to score points. In the remaining 2 minutes and 15 seconds, teams take control of their robots to score points. The team that ends with the highest score wins the match.
As the competition is open to those in grades 7-12 and has a variety of rookie and veteran teams, Hive Voltage took in a wide variety of robots and designs to learn from next year.
“They got a chance to see some really cool and complex robot designs from some of the more experienced teams,” said Borzok.
Even though Hive Voltage are true rookies, they came out of the competition with 3 out of 5 matches won, and the team ranked 13 out of 30 teams.
“The team had a great time and did very well,” said Borzok. “I’m really proud of how hard they worked and how they represented themselves.”
Hive Voltage thanks their sponsors Carson Consumer Discount Company, C&N Bank, Global Tungsten and Powders Corp., MetalKraft Industries, Truck-Lite, Titan Sports & Graphics, Wild Asaph Outfitters and Ward Manufacturing, as well as the Etner, Dunham, Sweet, Packer and Tabor foundations.