Robotics team qualifies for state championship


Thomas Tony

Members of the Sprockets & Screws robotics team control a robot during the Chicago regional Feb. 19.

William Tan, Assistant Editor

The robotics team Sprockets & Screws has qualified for the Illinois First Tech Challenge state championship after competing in the Chicago regional Feb. 19. The WeByte team also finished with a winning record, placing seventh after initial qualification rounds. 

Sprockets & Screws finished qualification rounds ranked fourth. Then, determined by a series of complex alliances and ranking systems, the team won the finals and earned a spot to join 37 other teams in Elgin on March 12 for the state championship. The top three teams from the competition will advance to the World Championship.

“At regionals, it was a very stressful — very fun — day, a lot of frantic last- minute fixes and, you know, excellent driving by Peter Cox and James Fry,” Joseph Bremer, a Sprockets & Screws team member, said. “We managed to get a slot to state, so I’m really excited about that.”

Although WeByte members didn’t advance deep enough into the elimination rounds to qualify for state, Darren Fuller, robotics coach, said he was impressed with their achievements, especially as this was their first year competing.

“The rookie team did incredibly. They were doing things that no other team could do,” Mr. Fuller said. “There’s a part of the game where you have to pick up something and put it on top of something [else]. They’re the only one that did that throughout the day.”

Both teams won additional awards. Sprockets & Screws won the Think Award for the best engineering design process. They also placed second for the Motivator Award that evaluated team spirit and third for the Inspire Award that evaluated the team overall. WeByte placed first for the Motivator Award and second for the Think Award. 

In preparation for the state tournament, Sprocket & Screws will continue to hone their robot by adding new features, refining existing characteristics and testing out their changes.

“Their goal is to fix the mechanics, refine their code and then also just driving practice,” Mr. Fuller said. “That’s the next three weeks — getting ready.”