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Truckee Robotics Club takes on Nevada’s best at state championships

Truckee High School Robotics Club sent two teams (Truckee Talos and Rolling Bots) to compete at this year’s state championships.
Courtesy photo

After months of work and regular-season competitions, the Truckee High School Robotics Club took their robots to Reed High School in Sparks to battle it out against students from around Nevada at the FIRST Tech Challenge Nevada State Championships.

The teams, Truckee Talos and Rolling Bots, began assembling and programming their robots in August and have competed throughout the school year. After qualifying for state through the regional tournament, the teams took their robots to the championships on Saturday, Feb. 22, and faced off against 34 other squads from across Nevada.

The robots were programmed to work autonomously for the first 30 seconds of the competition, and had to move a platform into a loading zone, stack bricks onto the platform, and park in designated zones. After the first 30 seconds, teams were then able to use controllers to maneuver the robots.

Another aspect of the competition is that teams are randomly paired with other squads to form an alliance during each round of competition. The format ended up hurting the Rolling Bots in the later rounds due to being paired with teams with lesser robots.

“The Rolling Bots were doing really well until their last two rounds,” said Coach Marcy Thompson. “They were paired with much lower alliances, whose robots couldn’t perform that well.”

Truckee Talos, however, had a standout showing, reaching the semifinals of the state tournament before being knocked out. The team finished in fourth place overall.

The Truckee Robotics Club has now qualified teams to the state tournament in each of its three years at the high school. This year, the club has had its largest turnout, according to Thompson, since its inception. High school students in the club work together on teams to create the robots, combining different skills and backgrounds to, ultimately, take on students across the state.

“Everyone kind of has their own niche,” Thompson said of the students who join the club. “We try to get everybody to do everything, but you gravitate toward what you really want to work on.”

Truckee Talos was represented at the tournament by Cole Thompson, Brandon Cooley, Taylor Johns, Jonah Caldwell, and Millie Gamlin. The team also had Jack Cook, Ryan O’Toole, Ethan Routhier, but they were unable to attend the tournament.

Rolling Bots had Yahir Ruiz, Anthony Mora, Shawn Amaral, Diego Rodriguez, Riley Thompson, Bryan Huerta, and Jack Shortridge at the tournament. The team also included Hana Mazur, Jacob Dickerman, and Annika Thayer.

Bob Thompson served as the club’s head coach.

The club has been supported in building their robots, which can cost between $1,500 and $2,000 to construct, by Rotary Club of Truckee, Truckee Optimist Club, Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner, Truckee High School Boosters, Truckee Tahoe Airport District, Arconic Foundation, Tesla, and the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.


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