The Penticton Robotics Club made it to the semi-finals of the FIRST Robotics regional championship in Victoria on March 7. Their performance qualified them for the world championship in Houston. (Contributed)

The Penticton Robotics Club made it to the semi-finals of the FIRST Robotics regional championship in Victoria on March 7. Their performance qualified them for the world championship in Houston. (Contributed)

Penticton Robotics team qualifies for international championship in Houston

The inter-school team is made up of students from Penticton secondary schools

The interschool Penticton Robotics Club has qualified for the world stage.

The team of students from Princess Margaret Secondary School and Pentiction Secondary School took home the Rookie All-Star Award at the Pacific Regional FIRST Robotics Championship in Victoria on Saturday, March 7, qualifying them for the world championship in Houston in April.

“It was a huge surprise,” said Nicola Thomson, the team’s student coach. “We were just hoping to have a working robot by the time competition hit. So making it to internationals is a huge surprise for our team.”

READ MORE: Penticton Robotics club sets sights on upcoming FIRST Robotics Competition

The team lost by only a single point in their second semi-final round, and they are already considering ways of redesigning and improving their robot. The competition in Victoria took a toll on the robot, and much of it will need to be replaced and improved before the team goes to Houston.

“It’s in pretty rough shape right now, so we’re going to have to go back and take this month and redo everything,” said Thomson.

The club is also planning on adding some ideas from the other robots, such as the top competitor’s auto-targeting system. The competition is based around completing objectives better than your opponents can, for this year, that means gathering ‘power cells’ strewn across the arena and getting them through the team’s goal.

Qualifying for the world championship means setting the team’s clocks all the way back to zero.

“We have one month to do what we did before in three months,” said Josh Walker, teacher and team co-coach.

That includes rebuilding their robot, re-programming it, and raising funds to make the trip possible. Costs for their first trip quickly added up, and they ended up raising $23,000 to make it to Victoria.

The club has a full roster of 18 members, and not every member is likely going to be able to make it down to Houston.

“It would be great to bring everyone, but the projected budget for that would cost around $30,000,” said Walker.

“We’re going to do a lot more financing, go back to our old sponsors, and hopefully find some new sponsors,” Thomson added.

Anyone interested in donating to the club can go to their website at pentictonrobotics.ca/Donations/


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