4/17/2013 8:07:00 AM Robotics team to take on the World
When new Windom Area High School Industrial Tech teacher Bob Ruby arrived in Windom last fall, he hoped to introduce students to robotics team competition.
Only, he expected that to happen next year.
But, lo and behold, Windom was one of a handful of schools selected to receive a $2,800 VEX Robotics starter kit from Riverland College. Within a couple of months after receiving the kit, a fledgling Windom Eagles Robotics team was hatched. Ruby then expected his team to spend this first year learning the ropes of building a robot and strategies for competition.
But a funny thing happened on the way to reading the robotics tutorial.
They became good - real good!
And today, six members of the Windom Robotics team and their coaches, Bob and Sandy Ruby, will be among 400 high school teams from around the world competing against one another in the VEX Robotics World Championships in Anaheim, Calif.
The team flew out of Sioux Falls Tuesday and landed at the John Wayne Airport in Orange City, Calif. The team is staying at the Desert Palm Hotel, which is connected to the Anaheim Convention Center, where the world championships are being held. Both are located next to Disneyland.
The team, which shipped its robot to the competition last week, will be involved in three days of competition - two days of qualifying and elimination matches and, hopefully, a third day of final round competition.
Making the trip are six members of the team: Senior captain Nicholas Wolter, senior treasurer Ryan Helmoski, junior Isaac Steele and freshmen Ethan Clerc, Jackson Oltmans and Nathan White. The Rubys are accompanied by parents Lane and Deann Steele.
Windom is competing in the high school division of the VEX Robotics World Championships. However, 400 teams also will be competing in the Middle School Division and an unknown number of teams will be competing in the College Division.
Teams have a prep day starting at noon today (Wednesday) in which they set up their pit, check over their robot to ensure it was not damaged during shipping and put their robot through its paces on the Center's surfaces.
Two days of qualifying and elimination matches involving the game "Sack Attack" begin Thursday at 8 a.m., and run until 7 p.m., each day. Ruby knows his team will have at least 10 matches.
Final round competition is slated for Saturday.
What is the Windom team's goal in its first appearance at the World Championships?
"Our goal in those two days is to do well enough in the qualifying matches that other teams see our abilities,"says Ruby, who coaches the team with assistance from his wife, Sandy. "It's going to be really hard going against teams from China, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore and all these countries that are just phenomenal.
"So, our hope is to show ourselves as a strong enough robot that they might pick us to be a part of their alliance (for the final rounds)."
For more on the team's trip to California, see the story on page 6 of the April 17 issue of the Cottonwood County Citizen on newsstands today.