The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

Staff Spotlight
Isaac Danon
Isaac Danon
Staff Reporter

Isaac is a junior at Sage Creek and he’s a staff reporter for The Sage. In his free time, he enjoys drawing anime characters and making Capcut videos for volunteer organizations. Also, he sells exclusive...

Sage Creek Robotics Hosts Competition on Campus

Helen Hao
Team tents line Sage Creek’s Athletic Mall. Competitions are great opportunities to meet other teams and learn from each other.

On Saturday, Jan. 13 and Sunday, Jan. 14, Sage Creek High School hosted its first robotics competition of the season. Over 30 teams from all over San Diego brought their bots to compete in the Sage Creek Arena.

The robotics teams compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), where teams design, build and program their robots to work with a randomly assigned alliance partner and gain as many points as possible in a predesignated challenge.

This season’s challenge was revealed back in September last year: alliances must place colored pixels on a backboard to earn points. More points are given for creating mosaics or stacking pixels higher. Teams could also earn points for launching a drone or hanging on the trusses separating the front and back of the playing field.

This competition was the fourth one of the season and Sage Creek’s five teams — Botcats, Catalysts, Crowforce, Level Up and Python —  have continued to adapt and improve.

Teams practice on the field before the competition begins. During a match, two teams of two compete for the most points.
(Helen Hao)

In order to optimize their bots’ performances, teams made changes to last year’s designs. For Crowforce, this meant removing their signature side panels to maximize speed and dexterity. Adalay London, Crowforce’s business lead, looks forward to advancing in FTC.

“This is our second to last competition. The last competition will also be here at Sage on February 10. And that one will be a very important competition,” London said. “We want to be in a good place going in since we’re gonna have a lot to do during that competition.”

Teams that do well on Feb. 10 will have the chance to compete in regionals. Unlike in previous matches, the last local matches will be between the different leagues.

This year, two additional leagues were added to the San Diego division to accommodate the growing number of competitors; now there are six.

Teams accumulate points as the season progresses and adjust their designs as they find what works and what doesn’t.

Still, weeks and months of preparation cannot prevent the unexpected. Sometimes autonomous will fail or the robot simply breaks. At times like these, the team must make the best out of the situation.

Team Definitely Human’s “Slappy Bot” stands in front of their team tent. The mannequin’s arm was programmed to slap those passing by.

“The claw isn’t the best right now, but it works on the arm. We fixed it yesterday,” said Yarlyne Pham, who is part of Level Up’s hardware team. 

“We’re fixing some things and then we’re tightening all the screws,” Pham added. “We just do what we need to do before competition and then maybe get a couple of driving practices here and there.”

Despite the struggles, Sage Creek’s teams were able to end in the top four in their respective leagues. The teams hope to keep the momentum going in the interleague matches.

Joining Sage Creek Robotics — planning, designing, coding, building and outreach — is a great way for students to gain the skills they’ll need for the workplace. Cutler Crowell, a mechanical engineer and coach of the Catalysts, has been mentoring robotics for many years.

“All of the dynamics that we see in Robotics is [sic] almost the exact same as what I see at work. So we have our hardware team, our software team, our business team, they all have to do their jobs and communicate together and work as a team,” Crowell said.

“And it’s just funny how like, common some of the difficult difficulties we have,” Crowell continued. “Working as a group and learning new things and dealing with challenges. It’s the exact same thing I see at work.”

For those interested in supporting Robotics, the Catalysts are hosting a fundraiser at Skybound Coffee and Dessert today until 8 p.m., so be sure to drop by and grab some treats.

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