Special to the Register
Gainesville Daily Register
The Sacred Heart Machinators won first place in the Denton County BEST Robotics Game competition at the University of North Texas in Denton Saturday. The robotic competition was extremely exciting, as Sacred Heart narrowly defeated a 5-A public school in the final round to win the competition. There were 14 teams at the competition, representing schools of various sizes, and even large home school groups. The Sacred Heart Machinators now advance to the State Competition. It will be held at the Garland Events Center on Sat., Nov. 10.
The Robotics Game competition began in earnest six weeks ago, when the team was given the game rules for WARP XX. This included information of the playing field and game strategies, the supply list and equipment, and goals for this year’s robot.
The WARP XX Game was extremely challenging for the team. Based the on the concept of a space elevator, this robot was not to be driven on the ground, instead the robot was required to run up and down on a pole a distance of ten feet, carrying various items from the bottom to the top and back down again to score points.
The team had worked furiously over the past month, and finally constructed a working robot only one week prior to the competition. In the final week before the competition, the students spent many hours practicing driving the robot and putting the finishing touches on the machine.
When designing their robot, each team has to decide what tasks their robot will try to perform in order to score points at the competition, since there are several scoring options.
Sacred Heart Machinators had chosen to build a robot that would transport a small Styrofoam block (solar panel) and liter bottles from the bottom to the top of the playing field. With this strategy, Sacred Heart Machinators could score 25 possible points in each run with their robot.
The Machinators’ robot performed very well at the competition. They had the only robot capable of successfully moving the foam solar panels from the bottom to the top.
The only other team that was able to score more points per round was Marcus High School, a large 5-A public school, who could score 26 points per round with their robot which could carry the liter bottles and light plastic balls.
In the preliminary rounds, each school drove their robot in 8 competitive rounds. The 8 teams with the highest score after the prelims, advanced to the semifinal rounds. Sacred Heart Machinators finished the prelims with the highest score. However, the scoreboard was then cleared for the semifinal rounds.
In the semifinal round, Sacred Heart had two rounds in which 50 points were scored, but in one run a wire became disconnected on the robot, and only a few points were scored.
Sacred Heart finished second in the semifinals, and it became obvious that Marcus would have to make some mistakes in order for Machinators to win.
The top four scoring teams, which included Sacred Heart, went into the finals.
Once again, the scoreboard was cleared, and each team started with 0 points. Each robot was given three runs in the finals.
On the first run Sacred Heart gained 25 points, while Marcus only scored 24. This opened the door for a possible win for the Machinators. However, all hope seemed lost, when in the next round, Sacred Heart dropped the solar panel, losing their opportunity to score 6 points in that round. However, Marcus HS dropped a liter bottle with their robot, losing even more points than Sacred Heart.
As Sacred Heart entered the last run, the team realized they had to score their full 25 points in order to defeat Marcus High.
Their prayers were answered, as Machinators had a great run, scoring all 25 points, narrowly defeating Marcus High by only two points.
The Sacred Heart Machinators were awarded first prize for their accomplishment and were also given the award for the Most Robust Robot.
Drivers for the Sacred Heart Machinators’ robot included Aaron Davis, Keith Metzler, Michael Fleitman, Mark Davis, Tom Davis, and Nick Turner.
This year, in addition to the Sacred Heart students, the Machinators had team members participating that were from Muenster ISD and Lindsay ISD as well.
The Sacred Heart Machinators were coached and directed by Darrell Walterscheid, who gave countless hours of guidance as the team built their robot. Darrell was also instrumental in teaching the students CAD during the spring break of the 2011 – 2012 school year, so that they were able to draw and construct various pieces for the robot. Other adult volunteers assisting with the BEST program were Ronnie Weinzapfel, Jennifer Bayer, Martha Sicking, and Rich Lewis.