Enver Creek Secondary's robotics team continued its dominant rookie season in Washington State this month, with a surprise comeback that saw them walk away with the championship, despite scoring low for the first part of the competition.
According to coach/instructor Travis Burroughs, Enver's team had some difficulties when it came to the first part of the Western Washington Vex Robotics Competition, but were able to find a way into the final that saw the team eventually share the top spot.
"What happens in the competition is that you randomly get drawn a partner, so they don't know who their teammates are going to be until they get there," he said. "So there were three no-shows and all three were partnered with our robot, so we ended up scoring really low because we had no teammates for three of our five round-robin matches."
The competitions are styled in a way that robot creations must all compete with one another to perform the same task, this season being focused on moving beanbags around to different levels.
But despite the handicap matches, Burroughs said the Enver Creek team, consisting of Grade 10 and 11 students Rishabh Singal, Munraj Grewal, Pruby Dosanjh and Paul Nagra, still did well, which led to them being asked to participate in the finals.
"They were selected to go into the finals by the sixth-place team, which is Gladstone Secondary, as competitors in the final are able to choose their partner teams," explained Burroughs. "They were definitely not expecting to win. They were the only team there that had never been to a world championship before the finals, so they weren't expecting it."
The final step in the team's season is the world championships, which are held in April in Anaheim, Calif.
In preparation, Burroughs said the team is working to improve their robot's wheels and are studying videos on their competitors.
"We're watching all the other teams on YouTube and trying to come up with strategies to make our robot competitive with the others," he said.
And while the only thing riding on the line is bragging rights and a title, for Burroughs, who volunteers his time as coach, it's all about giving the students something to go for.
"For the kids, they might not get a financial award winning the worlds, but for engineering programs and getting into that sort of stuff, it really helps their applications," he said. "It gives students who wouldn't normally be competitive in a sports situation a chance to excel and be at the top of their game in something they can understand."
The Enver Creek robotics team is funded by the school’s Parent Advisory Committee as well as the students themselves. Those interested in helping the team in any way can contact Burroughs at email@example.com.