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Robotics team soars to victory at USTEM and regional tournaments

The+team+poses+after+a+win+at+the+USTEM+tournament.
Harlan Howe
The team poses after a win at the USTEM tournament.

Kinkaid’s robotics team, also known as The Falconeers, has enjoyed a victory-filled season.

The team participated in the USTEM Under Cooked Tournament at Waltrip High School on Feb. 10. 

The robotics team continues to be a fun and enjoyable environment for all who are interested in mechanics.

“Everyone puts in as much time as they are able to do with no judgment or pressure,” said junior Sam Ferber. 

The Falconeers returned victorious as they were a part of the winning alliance. They also came in first in the skills competition and won the excellence award.

There are multiple highlights that team participants share about the robotics team, one being the team music playlist which is over 10 hours long. Other team members said they were most proud of the team mascot “Therapy Bear.” 

“We have a dunce point system where you get a dunce point for knocking bins over, and whoever has the most has to wear a pinwheel hat to the next tournament,” junior Elijah Lemon said.

Even though the team is no stranger to creative and fun games, members dedicate lots of time and hard work to their creations. The team meets for an hour and a half to two hours every day after school for most of the school year; as well as weekly lunch meetings.

“We put a lot of time into robotics,” Ferber said.

As the USTEM tournament grew closer, the Falconeers began their finishing touches. The preparation before a tournament consists of fixing anything that is broken on the robot from a previous tournament. 

Then, the team has to figure out which ideas worked best and what they need to improve on based on their performance at an earlier tournament. 

They also have to prepare their Autonomous period, which is the portion of the game where the robot is controlled by code.

“Most of this deliberation happens during our lunch meetings where we plan out everything we need to do to prepare for the next tournament and beyond,” said Lemon.

On the day of the tournament, the Falconeers arrived at 7:30 a.m., and the matches started at 9 a.m. The tournament is split into two different competitions: skills and matches. The skills portion challenges teams to get as many points by themselves as possible in a certain amount of time. This includes driver skills and autonomous skills. 

“In the most recent tournament, we had the highest skill points, so we got the skills award,” said Lemon.

The second part of the tournament is the matches, which begin with the qualifiers. This round can be stressful for the participants, but also fun.

“We had a bye during the first round and we were able to watch other matches and scout out opponents,” Lemon said.

After the Falconeers emerged victorious, they took pictures with their awards and with their robot.

Robotics tournaments allow the team members to make friends with other people who share the same interests. 

Due to their achievements, the Falconeers qualified for the Texas VRC High School Region 3 Championship on Feb. 24 in Clear Lake.

At the regional tournament, the team secured the 22nd spot, with five wins and three losses. In their last showing at the Region 3 Championship during the 2021-22 school year, the team secured the 16th rank with four wins and three losses.

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About the Contributor
Emerson Heath
Emerson Heath, Enterprise Editor
Emerson Heath serves as an Enterprise Editor for The Falcon. This is her second year on staff. She is a co-chair of the events and donations committee, a member of Young Alumni Leaders, and an admissions ambassador. She loves playing sports and hanging out with her friends and her dogs. She is excited to spend this year with her ear to the ground, digging up interesting enterprise stories.

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