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Local robotics team gearing up for competiton

Robotics+team+members+Micah+King%2C+Dylan+McNamara%2C+and+Jordan+Brown+analyze+the+design+of+their+robot.+Credit%3A+Felicia+Perez%2FThe+Foothill+Dragon+Press
Robotics team members Micah King, Dylan McNamara, and Jordan Brown analyze the design of their robot. Credit: Felicia Perez/The Foothill Dragon Press
Robotics team members Micah King, Dylan McNamara, and Jordan Brown analyze the design of their robot. Credit: Felicia Perez/The Foothill Dragon Press

Gears have been turning and motors have been starting ever since members of the citywide high school robotics team started constructing their robot in the beginning of January.

The team, Circuit of Life, is composed of forty students from Pacific, Villanova, Ventura, El Camino, and Foothill Technology High School. They are one of 58 teams competing at the annual FIRST Robotics Competition next month in Long Beach, CA.

Foothill senior Nicole Teitel was a member of Foothill’s robotics club before it disbanded at the end of the last school year, and now acts as a safety officer and secretary for the team.

“Last year, we had a lot of students who were part of the club but not active members,” Teitel said. “They wouldn’t go to after-school meetings and build the robot with us.”

Circuit of Life usually meets twice a week after school at Ventura High School, but has recently been gathering daily because their robot is supposed to be completed in two weeks and their first competition begins on March 15th.

Among the many requirements for the robot this year is that it must weigh at least 120 pounds, stand two feet by three feet, and should be able to shoot a basketball into a hoop.

Foothill junior Jongseung Baek is in charge of making sure that the design of the robot is successful.

“I design the robots. I model the robots in computer graphics and safety animations,” Baek said.

Circuit of Life is able to pay for the necessary supplies thanks to their sponsors such as JC Penny, Amgen, Standard Recycling, and others.

Some of the team members feel that the robotics competition in March will be very competitive.

“There is no way to know what other teams are doing, so we have to assume that they’re going to be good,” Foothill alumni and robotics mentor Cody Chandler said. “We hope that our robot can compete at their level.”

Other members of the team feel that the intense competition from the FIRST robotics competition will allow them to succeed more in the future.

“When we are in the competition, we need to check out the other teams and see their progress so we can see what we could do better,” Ventura High senior Yahir Cervantes said.

Circuit of Life’s head coach, Velma Lomax, has been trying to ensure that the team’s progress runs smoothly.

“She [Lomax] definitely taking the appropriate reigns that are necessary to complete such a daunting task,” Teitel said.

Aside from building robots, Ventura High freshman Rubin Zindabad also enjoys the social aspect of the team.

“Everyone is nice and friendly. It’s a good environment to be in,” he said.

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