OHS hosts robotics competition

Over 30 teams crowded the halls of OHS on Feb. 1 for the FIRST Tech Challenge: Regional Qualifier, a robotics competition where robots compete against each other in challenges of skill. 

Two teams from OHS, the Oakville Lasagnaneers and the Oakville Elon-gated Tigers, both run by robotics advisor Dr. Jim Kreyling, competed against teams from all over Missouri including teams from Rolla, Imperial, and Kansas City. 

“There are a lot of neat opportunities through robotics,” said Sophie Blick (10) an assistant coder for the Lasagnaneers. “Participating in robotics is really eye opening into the STEM field. You get a little taste of what it is all about.” 

In robotics, team members design, code, and build robots to compete in the completion of a task. This task is predetermined by FIRST Tech, and stays the same for the entire robotics season.

This season, robots picked up plastic building blocks (known as stones), went under bridges, and placed their blocks on their building foundation. In doing this teams earn points. By the end of the round the alliance (two teams working together) with the most points wins. The number of points an alliance earns affects those team’s rank within the competition.  

Each round has three portions, an autonomous round (the robot runs completely based on coding), a teleOp/ driving period (where a driver takes control of the rombo via remote control) and endgame (the last 30 seconds of a round). 

“My heart was over my head!” said Olivia Rausch (10), who is one of the robot drivers for the Lasagnaneers. “I couldn’t believe we were there, and someone wanted to be in an alliance with us.” 

During the competition both teams fought fiercely. The Elon-gated Tigers stayed pretty consistently in around 30th place, while the Lasagnaneers stayed within the top 15 throughout the entire competition. They were even chosen to be an alliance with other competing teams, The Rampage and Tesla’s Knights in the semifinals. They did not make it to the finals. 

“It’s fun to see how our robot compared to other teams,” said Nathan Fetter (10), public outreach for the Elon-gated tigers. 

The competition lasted about seven hours and in the end the Oakville Lasagnaneers placed second for the Think Award for their engineering notebook and took third place for the Design Award for the design of their robot. They also advanced to the Eastern Regional Qualifier. 

“Both teams did pretty good,” said Jacob Walters (12) the team captain of the Elon-gated Tigers. “The robots worked. One team went on to the next level, which is the best scenario for any team.”

Dr. Kreyling said, “I hope they took away team camaraderie, teamwork, and perseverance. The students worked very hard to be where they are.”