AHS hosts robotics practice driving, teamwork

News Photos by Julie Goldberg Above: Hillman Jr./Sr. High School sophomores Xavier Baker and Anthony Reynolds practice driving their robot on Sunday at Alpena High School. Below: Atlanta High School seniors Hunter Reeves and Jacob Gow drive their robot on Sunday at Alpena High School.

ALPENA — Seven teams were at Alpena High School on Sunday to practice driving their robots and learning the new game. Hillman Jr./Sr. High School and Atlanta High School were two of the teams still working on their robots before the competitions begin.

Hillman is in its first year after a couple of years without a team and teacher and coach Jesse Pattison said build season has been a lot of fun for the entire team.

“There will be periods of crazy building and getting things done and then followed by a period of why we had to spend three or four days trying to figure out one little problem,” Pattison said. “It’s just a cycle of madness and frustration.”

Build season is over on Tuesday and Pattison said the plan is the students driving the robot a lot.

“We also need to get our bumpers built,” Pattison said. “This practice session will tell us what we need to add to our robot in order to make it more effective. We’re still trying to get the robot programmed and figured out.”

News Photos by Julie Goldberg Above: Hillman Jr./Sr. High School sophomores Xavier Baker and Anthony Reynolds practice driving their robot on Sunday at Alpena High School.

Pattison is excited about the competitions since those begin in March.

“Everything so far has been a lot of fun and everyone has said the real fun is the competitions, so based on what I’ve experienced, I’m very excited about the competitions,” he said. “Now that we’re finally getting a working robot, the excitement for the competitions is starting to set in.”

Senior James MacQueen said building the robot has been hectic for the team.

“We had an entire week where every day got taken off and we weren’t able to work, so we’ve been really trying to push,” MacQueen said. “We’ve been working weekends and late nights and trying our best to get the robot done. We’re now trying to get the program done for our conveyor belt because it wasn’t working until today.”

MacQueen said the robot has been working great and a lot better than he expected.

“We completely took apart our electronics this morning and redid it,” MacQueen said. “Other than that, I’ve had a fun six weeks working on the robots.”

MacQueen said before the competitions begin, the team should put the bumpers on the robot. He is feeling confident about the team’s chances at competitions.

“We’ll probably do pretty good,” he said. “We’re hoping to be a little more defensive since we can’t really help much with the middle scale. I’m excited about the competition.”

Atlanta is in its first year of having a robotics team and the students are excited for the competitions.

“It’s been fun,” senior Hunter Reeves said. “It’s been fun being with everyone and sharing ideas.”

Senior Jacob Gow said the past six weeks of building have been stressful.

“It’s a huge learning curve for stepping into something like this,” Gow said.

Reeves said the claw for their robot has to be fixed before they are done building on Tuesday.

“We have a claw problem and I think it’s our battery charger because our battery has been going dead lately,” he said. “We have to redesign the claw and wiring has to be changed up a bit, but other than that, it’s been pretty good.”

Reeves said he’s nervous about the competitions because he doesn’t like to lose.

AHS teacher and coach Melissa Doubek said the practice went extremely well for all the teams.

“I think we made the most progress this year compared to other years,” Doubek said. “All the robots were working by the end of the day and the teams were able to get a lot of practice with the cubes.”

Doubek said they were able to assist the other teams with programming and she’s happy with how the practice went for the teams.

Schools that were at the high school on Sunday were Alpena, Hillman, Atlanta, Posen, Alcona, and Oscoda.

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.