Wildkat robotiks begins competition season


photo or infographic by Heather Jackson

Looking at the referee’s notes after match two, sophomore Owen Baker, junior Javier Banda and sophomore Hannah East compete at the FIRST Robotics meet on Saturday, January 15, 2022. The Wildkat Robotiks team hosted the meet for the Greater Houston North League. photo by Heather Jackson

by Heather Jackson, VOW photography manager

Drivers place down their bot, driver hub and controllers. They begin the autonomous period and after 30 seconds the voice-over directs them to take over. COUNTDOWN: Three. Two. One. And the match begins. 

Wildkat robotiks had their first meet of the season on Jan. 15. They were able to work out various complications with each run and are now ready to move forward in their season. 

“It went good,” freshman Steve Cunningham said. “It was hectic, but it was good. After the first round, it got way better.” 

The meet gave the members an opportunity to put their skills to the test in front of referees, opposing teams and an audience. 

“I think the best thing that came out of our last meet was the driving teams coming into their own and learning how to function in a comp setting,” junior James Rodgers said. “They learned how to properly drive in order to be the most successful and work together as a team.”

Robotics teaches students various skills as well as opens doors of opportunity for the participants. 

“Robotics can help you in the long run because you can earn scholarships to get into college,” Cunningham said. “The more you know the better because when you go to get a job they will pick the person with the highest education.”

Knowledge and future benefits aren’t all robotics have to offer. It also gives students a place to get together with friends and make new ones along the way. 

“A friend recommended it to me,” sophomore Ryan Mansfield said. “It seemed cool because I was already interested in robotics so when I learned about it, it seemed interesting.”

WIldkat robotiks recently received a grant for their program from AndyMark, an association they frequently receive funds from. 

“We are using it for wheels, so we will probably get two or three sets,” senior and project manager Kendall Cobb said. “We need grants because it’s so expensive, so we really try to fundraise. One of our fundraisers where we normally make a lot of money is the concession stand at our meets, but they have been a little slow this year, and we didn’t have in-person meets last year.” 

The team will continue to compete in efforts to gain advancements and awards. 

“What happens here is what qualifies us for awards and for state,” Cobb said. “We have our mock interview on February 10. We kind of viewed last year as a practice run because it was over zoom due to COVID. This mock interview will decide who will go in and represent us. I think we do well on the interview portion. I think we are all knowledgeable enough to make it engaging while also getting our points across.”