Volume 31



Robotics dominates

Middle school robotics teams win first home tournament, VEX Robotics California State Championships
MS Robotics

Over the past month, Harvard Westlake (HW) middle school robotics teams have not only won in the school’s first home tournament, but also the VEX Robotics California State Championships.

After a tense competition in Taper Gymnasium on Saturday, Feb. 6, five of the 11 VEX robotics teams competing this year for Harvard-Westlake (HW) advanced to the state championships, which were held on Friday, March 5. Although this is not the first year teams at HW have made it this far, with one high school team winning the world championship in a previous year, the teams are excited to have a chance to compete in states.

“[The competition] was fun,” Matthew Ahn ’25 said. “I think our team did the best we could at the time.”

This year, the VEX robotics challenge involves placing rubber rings on poles placed around the map. Teams can also gain extra points by moving the poles onto see-saws placed on opposite ends of the arena.

Despite their success, team 462A was still trying to perfect their robot. “The programming of our robot wasn’t the type we wanted,” Ahn said. “Everything in our program will be redone, so our robot will be smoother and have more things it can do.”

Ahn also wanted to improve the ability of his robot to place the rings on the poles. “Our robot was able to do that, but not very smoothly, so we’re going to improve that,” Ahn said. “Another part is picking up the mobile goals and moving them, so we have already improved the clamps we use to hold them [the goals].”

Luka Umekubo ’25 is on team 462Z, which also qualified for the state championships after the last competition. Despite their success, the team faced some struggles getting ready for the tournament.

“[My team had a] lack of experience being new to robotics, but we persevered to make it to states,” Umekubo said.

All of the hard work and improvements the teams made throughout the season so far, were not for naught. After advancing to the State Championships, Team 462A emerged as one of the winners of the championship. In addition, the team won the sportsmanship award for the competition.

“I am incredibly proud of all four of the teams that competed in the Southern California state championships” robotics coach Tripp Reed said. “The fact that all four [middle school] teams made the elimination round is incredible, and it is a testament to the hard work they put in throughout the year. In particular, 462A competed at the highest level, and I am incredibly proud of the work they put in and the accomplishments that they achieved.”

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