Ventura County’s HighTide robotics team wins the World Championship


Jane Kim

An inside view of the competition floor and roaring crowd of the 2023 Robotics World Championship in Houston, Texas.

Nisha Reddy, Writer

Team 4414, the HighTide robotics team of Ventura County, recently won the 2022-2023 World Championship for robotics in Houston, Texas with the help of their beach-themed robot, Tsunami. It took the team six weeks to build the robot in order for it to take out all of the other robots in sight. The 22 students on the team come from El Camino High School, Ventura High School, Rio Mesa High School, North Hollywood High School and Foothill Technology High School.

The competing robot “Tsunami” manufactured by team 4414 (HighTide) located in Ventura, Calif., ready to take on all of its competitors at the 2023 Robotics World Championship. (Jane Kim)

During their weekly practices, the team members would have 20 plus hour work weeks. They would practice nearly every weekday and every Saturday, they would practice from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. As Mahir Shyam ‘25 speaks about the workload, “Sundays would be our only real break day as being the day we are supposed to have off often. But it often spill[ed] into [the] robotics season, so we all put in a ton of work.”

The HighTide robotics team builds and practices at Sessa Manufacturing and their practice field is in Los Angeles, which they share with other teams in that area. Jane Kim ‘26 explains, “We don’t have a full field where we work, so we go over to the Da Vinci School in L.A. We also visit the Circuit Breaker’s (Team 696) field from time to time.” Moreover, the lead mentor is Jonathan Sessa and the fundraising and money management is done by Jonette Sessa. 

One of the positions in the team is the assembly. At competitions, this position coordinates with other teams to build a data system with all of the different robots. There are also main lead designers, which consists of three or four people, that brainstorm and work with robotic strategies to use during the meets. There is also the machine work position, which is a very broad position because there are many sub positions within it. 

The overall season consisted of six to eight weeks of building and competition. After the official season is over, a robotics team usually hosts a competition or gets invited to a hosted competition. HighTide has hosted a few competitions at Ventura College (VC). There are also some off-season competitions that the team can compete in. 

In the beginning of the season, the team gets a game task of developing a robot to carry out tasks as needed.  Aadhya Bavkar ‘25 explains the game from the competition, “There were certain places on the game field that were allotted to specific game pieces. The robot had to pick up game pieces from a station and put them into those allotments. The faster you do that, the more points you get. [A]t the end of the game, you have to balance two robots on a charge pad.” 

The competition lasted for four days, starting with the load day. On this day, the playing field was calibrated to every team’s robots and the teams loaded everything to their robots. The teams also had the ability to place their tools on the floor to be ready for the actual competition. The second day was a practice day, in which the teams got time on the floor to practice their robot’s specific skills. The second and third days were also when the qualification matches went on. Half the teams went on the second day and the other half on the third day. The final day was the competition day, when the teams that moved on from the qualifying matches got to fight for the championship title. It was also when the HighTide robotics team found out that all of their hard work paid off because they were world champions. 

The team celebrated their accomplishment by having a pseudo day, when they had a party and a smaller competition amongst themselves. The team was relieved to win the world championships and be over with the season, but is ready to work hard again next year for the title of world champions, once again.

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