photo by: Joselyn King
WHEELING – Ohio County Schools robotics teams bested most all in West Virginia at the state robotics championships this month, and now they look to take on the world.
There are 40 Ohio County students on their way to the Vex Robotics World Championship April 25-27 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Arena in Dallas.
One of the students is Wheeling Park High School senior Azariah Bayes, the “driver” for the Iron Patriots MK 4 robot that took the overall state championship in West Virginia.
West Virginia was allocated spots for 14 teams in the world championship, and Ohio County Schools took nine of them – three for WPHS, four from Bridge Street Middle School and two from Triadelphia Middle School .
photo by: Joselyn King
Bayes said having the best and most efficient robot in the competition isn’t always what brings home a win for its team. The robots are built and coded to do things as shoot as many discs as they can into a net as it can in a 45-second period.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the robot that’s better — I practice a lot,” Bayes said. “I can outdrive all our opponents, and I can outshoot all our opponents.
“Our robot is above average, but again I wouldn’t say it’s the robot. It’s about drive practice with my drive team, and time management on the field.”
He took over as the robot’s driver after the start of the season, but including class time he estimates he practices driving the robot about three hours each day.
He said there will be some modifications made to the robot before the world championships, and that instead of shooting four discs at a time it will be able to shoot six – enabling the team the opportunity to score more points during the allotted time period.
Bayes hopes to pursue a career in engineering while in college, and is looking into the possibility of attending Purdue University or the online Southern New Hampshire University.
WPHS senior Ethan Matz and his team, Iron Patriots MK 1, also qualified for the world championships while winning the skills championship for West Virginia.
He knows what sets his team’s robot apart from the others.
“It’s fast – faster than the other ones,” he said. “It’s probably the fastest one in the state, and it probably shoots the fastest, as well.”
Matz said he made some changes in the robot’s motors during the season to increase its speed.
Bridge Street Middle School eighth graders Mya White and Emma McNickle are excited to be heading to Dallas. Their Steels Devil III team was the state tournament champion among the middle school competitors.
They added they were looking forward to meeting new people from around the world, and being able to improve upon their coding skills.
JoJo Shay, innovation coordinator for Ohio County Schools, has about a month to coordinate the logistics of getting the 40 students and nine teams with their coaches and chaperones to Dallas.
That is double the number of robotics students who traveled to Dallas last year for the world championships, she said. It was their first year of competing, and Ohio County Schools sent four teams.
“This year we qualified nine teams, and that’s a testament to their passion for robotics, and their level of competition and their desire to get to the next level,” she said. “This year we have a lot more kids.”
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