HHS Robotics Fifth in First Outing
HHS Robotics Fifth in First Outing
Ken McLemore, Hope Public Schools

HOPE – The Hope High School Robotics Team won special recognition at the BEST Robotics Competition in Little Rock on Nov. by bringing their robot back from glitches to finish fifth overall.

HHS received the “It’s Alive” Award for the comeback effort, team adviser Kathy Knight said.

“‘It’s Alive’ is awarded to the team whose robot didn’t initially perform well or work, but managed to work at the end or near the end of the seeding rounds,” Knight said.

The story was one of a loose wire.

“In match one our robot did not move,” Knight said. “Zoltin (Delloso) was our driver and he gave it his all, but for three long minutes all we could do is look at a robot that would not move.”

The team had a mere four minutes before the next match to figure out the problem or be eliminated.

“We realized that we didn’t test our bot after the bus ride and during that ride a connection wire came loose,” Knight said. “Bingo, we fixed it.”

Each of the 21 teams in the competition was tasked with building a robot capable of rescuing a PVC pipe doll for 120 basic points, plus bonus points for time; contain chemicals by moving three pint cans filled with golf balls for 40 points each; and extinguish fire by overturning red plastic cups of ping pong balls for five points each.

Knight said the team decided to focus upon the rescue and containment maneuvers.

“Our match two, Zoltin rocked it and rescued Manni for 120 points plus time bonus,” she said. “Our match three, Eric Morataya was our driver and he got Mannie and two chemical drums for an additional 200 points.”

By round five, however, problems began to develop, though the team was able to score an additional 150 points. But, the team discovered the batteries to their robot were dead. With only an hour for lunch before entering the semi-final round, the team was faced with what to do to charge batteries that required three hours charging time.

A team dad came to the rescue, Knight said.

“One of the fathers present purchased extra batteries for us and we were ready for the semi-finals,” she said.

But, in round six, controller problems developed which lost precious time. Still, the BotCat team managed to score enough points to advance.

And, then, something serendipitous happened.

“We realized our controller was dying fast and the team from Kirby, Arkansas, coached by former HHS teacher Mark Reed, loaned us a remote,” Knight said. “We ended up fifth in the semi-final, but the top four moved on to the finals.”

Lessons learned, Knight said, included: Check everything on arrival; bring extras of everything; and, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

“We struggled early on, but we had a great comeback,” Knight said.

Sponsors for the competition included, HHS Class of 1971, Platinum; DKG, Gold; Kiwanis of Hope, Mr. and Mrs. Ken McLemore, Silver; Jerry Martin, Val Knight and Tony Hooker, Gold in-kind; and Mark Reed, Silver in-kind.

Team members included Brianna Cole, Kelsy Reedy, Yovana Martinez, Madison Adams, Tanya Hernandez, Kaitlyn Hooker, Dalton Hulett, Eric Morataya, Margaret Mayberry, Benjamin Knight, Jerry Noble, Anai Luna, Tristian Martin, Eric Barton, Hanna McCorkle, Jacob Gunn, Mayra Garcia, and Zoltin Delloso.

Team mentors included Val Knight, Jerry Martin, Ian Canalas, Jocelyn Balagot, Rowena Hollis, Candy Martin, Guillermo Rodriguez, Blanca Garcia, Jonathan Rodriguez and Andres Rodriguez-Garcia.