WSC beats Northeast in robotics competition


Photo by Courtney Upah

WSC students competed against Northeast Community College students in the college division of the Vex Robotics competition held at Wayne State College on Saturday. Also at this competition there was eight high.

Courtney Upah, Staff Writer

Robots arrived on campus Saturday as Wayne State College hosted the Vex Robotics competition.

The college division included WSC facing off against Northeast Community College. The eight-team high school division included teams from O’Neill, Battle Creek, Pierce and Stanton.

Competition day started at 8:15 a.m. with set up for WSC team members and helpers. Cookies and beverages were prepared beforehand for the competitors and spectators as WSC was the first team to bring its robots.

However, this was not the first time WSC has competed or hosted this event.

“Originally, it was designed as something fun for the college students to do, then we decided, ‘okay let’s expand it to the high school.’ It’s designed for programming skills to let both college and high schoolers test those and also engineering skills,” main judge Richard Chrisman said.

This competition was started about ten years ago. College students were originally the main focus, but high schoolers were soon added.

The qualification schedule did not have the colleges listed, so Chrisman announced that the two colleges would compete after every two high school competitions.

The high school rules differ from the colleges, largely due to size restrictions on the robots being used, so the colleges and high schoolers did not compete against each other.

The preliminaries or qualifications commenced promptly at 10:30 with the high school teams going first.

“I thought that participants competed as I expected them to, in the spirit of friendly competition. There were some interesting robots and some interesting programs, and I loved the strategies,” Chrisman said.

After the high school teams had their competition, the two colleges faced off. They followed this pattern competing in four preliminary matches. NECC ended up winning the first two matches 25-17 and 30-21, but WSC won the last two matches 26-25 and 33-25.

Competitors get 25 points for lifting their robot or, if it’s high enough, an extra 50. NECC used the strategy of lifting their robot, whereas WSC mainly focused on shooting the balls into the net to gain points.

After these preliminaries, the high schools had a semi-final where they did the best two out of three, and then the colleges faced off in the real competition. They also competed for the best two out of three.

NECC and WSC once again set up their robots, then began. The first round ended up 27-25 with WSC winning. The second round ended up 61-27 with WSC sweeping the floor and winning the college division.

However, the two college division teams were friendly and continued to communicate and bounce ideas off of each other to further improve their robots.

“I think that we could have done quite a bit better, but overall, we met our goal of beating Northeast Community College,” computer information systems major Nick Durham said.