The student news publication of Bryant High School in Bryant, Arkansas

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The student news publication of Bryant High School in Bryant, Arkansas

Prospective Online

The student news publication of Bryant High School in Bryant, Arkansas

Prospective Online

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VEX Robotics Championship

The robotics team (a sector of Hornet Engineering) attended the VEX Robotics State Championship at Arkansas Tech University on March 7. Five Bryant teams (three high school and two middle school) competed, bringing home three awards and a ticket to the April world championship. Each team consisted of three main components, plus a robot.

A robot used in the state championship. | Julia Nall photo
A robot used in the state championship. | Julia Nall photo

First, a driver, someone to steer the robot and initiate its motions. The competition involved a small, fenced in square (similar to a boxing ring), filled with boxes and cubes, resembling a child’s playpen (if that child happened to really like organization and architecture.) The driver would maneuver the robot through the pen, earning points for building blocks and moving pieces into certain positions. The game played is available for viewing on the VEX Robotics website.

A coach worked with the driver to help direct the robot, acting as architects to the strategy of each game.

“The coaches would be telling you, ‘Hey, you’re going to score more points by going and getting this,’ and coach the driver,” senior Buddy Christian said.

Senior Buddy Christian, a member of the robotics team and participant in the championship. | Julia Nall photo
Senior Buddy Christian, a member of the robotics team and participant in the championship. | Julia Nall photo

If the coaches were the architects of strategy, the programmer (the final team member) was an architect of success.

“It takes a special man to do a programming job,” Christian said. Programming has been a struggle for the VEX teams this year, according to Christian.

“We lost one of our best guys, Rex Hern,” Christian said. Hern was a programmer and sophomore last year, before leaving for ASMSA.

However, hope did not leave with Hern.

“We trained Joe [Sartini], and he’s to where he’s almost there, or even better,” Christian said.

Outside of the competition, the teams did not only work as individual units, but each team united and worked together.

A robot used in the competition. | Julia Nall photo
A robot used in the competition. | Julia Nall photo

“It’s difficult for everybody to really comprehend how much of a team effort it is,” Christian said.

Debbie Norris, John Williams, the high school and the middle school all prepared for the state championship.

“It takes everybody, even the ninth graders jumping in, saying ‘Hey, I’ll get everything prepared, I’ll get the pneumatic systems for the air compressor, I’ll get the banners, all the other stuff,” Christian said. “There’s a lot to go through. If you forget anything, that’ll ruin your day. Like we’ve gone to world how many times, and we forgot that?”

With three trophies won at the state championships, three teams are moving on to the VEX Robotics World Championship, marking the third year in a row that the school will have representation at World. Approximately 500 teams compete, all meeting in Louisville, Kentucky; the teams will leave for two full days of travel and three days of participation in the tournament and competitions.

A robot used in the competition. | Julia Nall photo
A robot used in the competition. | Julia Nall photo

“You’re meeting all these new people and having fun. You never know who you’re going to meet. The interaction with these people is phenomenal,” Christian said. He attended last year.

Until then, practice is key.

And beyond the championship?

As of now, engineering has 12 trophies from this season alone. They’re leaving State victorious and entering World for the third time in a row. With robots, airplane parts, drones and recent collaborations with A/V Tech and Film, the engineering program grows at an incredible rate, regardless of how they do at World.

A robot used in the competition. | Julia Nall photo
A robot used in the competition. | Julia Nall photo

Christian has high hopes and an ambitious vision of the approaching future of Hornet Engineering.

“I think, one day, truly I think this engineering will be bigger than football, baseball– any sport. Engineering will get you somewhere in life. You can go anywhere. We have one of the best architectural schools at Fayetteville right now. You go to college for four to six years and you’ll be making good income… I mean, that’s a no brainer. [At Bryant,] everybody is involved. It’s not just like, the best players or the most popular. You don’t even have to be that smart! I’m not that smart, I just figure out stuff pretty easy,” Christian said. “Everybody is involved. Nobody is sitting on the bench. That’s really one of the coolest parts about engineering. I think it’s going to go above and beyond.”

 

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