Robotics team headed to nationals
By Michael DiVittorio
Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 12:56 a.m.
Clairton City School District's robotics teams took home four awards, including first place overall, at the Regional BotsIQ competition.
California University of Pennsylvania's Convocation Center hosted the event Friday and Saturday.
At the competition, 48 schools and a total of 52 robots battled for prizes and the opportunity to represent their schools at the national tournament in Indianapolis May 17, 18 and 19.
Clairton team members and advisor Dennis Beard displayed their plaques and trophies to district officials at Wednesday night's school board meeting.
Team Bazinga earned first place for its competition dominance, winning six out of six matches, and Grand Champion for the best overall performance in the competition, documentation, team interviews and other awards. The team consists of captain Eliza Sopko, co-captain Bianca Pulliam and driver Zack Loera.
Team Mega Nuke won best sportsmanship and coolest robot design. That team's members are captain and driver Garrett Santoline and Amanda Gillespie.
“Teams really pulled together, and that's the only way that we got this,” Beard said. “The girls were really great at building the robot and repairing the robot. I also had Zack Loera, who's an excellent driver.”
He lauded the efforts of Garrett and Amanda, whose competition was cut short because of technical difficulties.
“We call it the curse,” Beard said. “It had wiring issues and gear block issues and stuff like that. Things that you couldn't foresee happening to a robot happened to it.”
The students said they had a fun time learning and competing.
“I worked on the construction and my experience was really cool,” Bianca said. “It was my first year (in robotics) so I really didn't know what was going on in the beginning. With Mr. Beard's and Eliza's help and Garrett's, I got the hang of everything.”
“It feels good to see hard work pay off for once,” Eliza said.
Eliza also credited Zack for her team's success.
“The robot's only as good as the driver,” she said.
Robots went through a strict screening process including a weight restriction of no more than 15 pounds. Both Clairton robots weighed in at 14.99 pounds.
Teams also had to provide binders showing in-depth research of parts and materials, why they chose those objects and other technical information.
Garrett said he built and designed the robot, and Amanda helped compile the research and competition strategies.
Garrett provided assistance to other schools at the competition, helping his team earn the sportsmanship award.
Teams received some materials from Ace Wire Spring and Form Co., and Vangura Tool Co. assisted with cutting the weapons and some technical support.
At the national competition, Clairton will be going up against high school and university robotics teams.
A high school at the regional competition was so impressed with Clairton's sportsmanship that they are paying for one of the national registration fees, Beard said.
Fundraisers are planned to help offset costs for the other registration fee, as well as travel expenses. Clairton was awarded $2,000 in the regional contest.
School directors unanimously approved the trip to Indianapolis and to pay the difference between the $2,000 and what is earned through fundraisers.
Board president Richard Livingston noted the district receives much attention for its athletics, but not so much for its academics.
“This is the first time we got recognized for our academics,” Livingston said.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport middle school student struck by dump truck dies in hospital
- McKeesport-area officials on lookout for landslides
- License transfer paves way for new restaurant in McKeesport
- AIU forum bashes governor’s education budget
- New McKeesport committee to focus on community issues
- Wilmerding Y surviving Ice Plant shutdown
- Army band Volunteers to rock Palisades stage
- Father-son funeral directors in Duquesne lead industry, community
- Clairton Meals on Wheels puts new van in immediate service
- Wall landmark may be demolished
- McKeesport mayor answers critics of emergency timing