L-R Back Row: Roman Rocha, Damien Tarango, Sponsor Jenna Flores, Jadyn Corrales, JC Clark, Natalie Venegas, Ryan Corralez, Daniel Arrazate, Ruby Ontiveros; Robot: “Gremlin” Sitting: L-R; Steven Urias Jr, Coach Adrian J. Norman
By Gilda Morales
Van Horn High School’s Robotics team, Protobots Team 2613, were among sixty teams competing at the Bayou Regional in Kenner, Louisiana last week. Hopes to win, and advance to Nationals. Teams from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, and teams from as far away as Mexico and Turkey competed with the hope to win and advance to the National contest.
Robot Driver, J.C. Clark, maintained his composure and demonstrated his will to win, assisted by the pit crew of Daniel Arrazate, Natalie Venegas, and Jadyn Corrales, who kept things running smoothly between matches, while Safety Captain Ruby Ontiveros, ensured compliance of all the rules.
The Protobots picked up right where they left off in Lubbock, and jumped on the board quickly to earn a second place ranking before the robot began to develop a glitch in a match. However, the electrical and mechanical team of Steven Urias Jr., Roman Rocha and Damien Tarango, were able to make necessary repairs enabling the Protobots to continue in the competition. Unfortunately, the team lost two matches in the first day of the qualifying rounds, and ended up ranked #10.
The team continued to play well on the second day of the qualification matches, but then the Robo RIO (robot’s brain) began to malfunction, but not enough to deter the team, who continued to pick up wins.
The top eight teams at the end of qualification matches form “alliances” and advance to the finals. The Protobots formed an alliance with The Dirty Mechanics Team 3932 of Boca Raton, Florida, and Panthrobotics Team 3337 of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but at the end, the alliance lost in the quarterfinals to the Bayou Regional Champions.
Coach Adrian Norman said, “I was disappointed we didn’t advance to Nationals, but I couldn’t have been more proud of this team and the community. When I received the invitation to compete in Kenner, the kids quickly began fundraising efforts. People and businesses all over Van Horn and the state were willing to help us. I only had two students with any experience when I formed the team, but the others stepped up and assumed roles. I can only hope to have the same team next year, but Damien and Roman will be graduating. I would like to thank CCAISD, and all of our sponsors once again for giving the students an opportunity to learn valuable life skills.”
Last but not least, special thanks to Blue Origin for being there for us every step of the way.