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Hopkinton teams advance to Robotics World Championships

by | May 3, 2024 | Education

Teams from Hopkinton Middle School and Hopkinton High School were set to compete at the VEX Robotics World Championships from April 25 to May 3 in Dallas. The students qualified by winning awards in regional and qualifying events.

New middle school coach Mary Curtis was eager to lend a helping hand when she heard the after-school club did not have an advisor this year.

Her daughter, Rylee, previously competed at the high school level, and Curtis knows how important the event is, especially to students who might not play sports or have many other interests.

“The middle school [teams] are really the foundation for high school, so it would be a really big deal not to have it,” Curtis said.

Students take inspiration from the fact that one of last year’s teams won a world championship.

Competing from Team Z: Red Flagz are Vikrant Ramesh, Mahathi Manikandan, Shashwat Jaipuriar, Weiyi Zhou, Hemant Hari and Nihal Cherkady.

Robotics-Z team

Team Z

Curtis noted Team Z previously won design, excellence and teamwork awards and said the students have really grown as a group, overcoming challenges to work cohesively after a few bumps along the way.

“As an engineer, you can’t always be by yourself in a corner,” Curtis said. “Listening to each other helps to build the best robot possible. Now they are ready for high school.”

Another competitive group from Hopkinton Middle School is Team W: Robo-Wizards, consisting of Nabhit Srivastava, Shray Tripathi, Shrivas Kumar, Dhairya Mehta, Karthik Lakshmanan, Rishit Lalchandani and Ajay Goverdhan. This team previously earned the STEM finalist award and judges award.

Robotics-W team

Team W

“They really worked hard together as a group and created a nice robot,” Curtis said.

The advisor also had high praise for Team G: Gigabytes, comprised of Suren Sahakyan, Ian Pararas, Evan Mathur, Divit Vallandas and Jack Turnbull. In the run-up to worlds, they were named teamwork and skills champions, received an excellence award and won the design award at regionals.

Despite being ranked as a leader in the region and capturing design honors, Team G had a rough outing when the robot did not perform on competition day.

“Sometimes, things don’t go your way just as in sports,” Curtis noted. “With robots, a motor can go out or a program not work even though it was tried and true before. … They have a good attitude and are very competitive but unfortunately will not be going to worlds.”

The competition calls upon students to strategize, build and program robots to complete complex tasks, in this case for the Full Volume challenge.

The objective of the game is to place blocks into goals, with points awarded based on the number, type and height of blocks in each goal. Points are awarded for clearing the supply zone and parking in the supply zone at the end of the match.

Further, in a teamwork challenge, an alliance of two robots work together to score as many points as possible in a 60-second match.

Other aspects of the event involve interviews, completion of engineering notebooks and inspections.

More than 400 teams from around the country and world will compete, including groups from China, Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Vietnam and more.

“It’s a cool opportunity for students to meet other kids and form alliances, even when there is sometimes a language barrier,” Curtis said.

She added that high school students had been a great help to their younger counterparts while preparing for the competitions.

From the high school, the team 2602B Big Orangutans competed at VEX from April 25-27. Members are Nicolette Buonora, Jake Dold, Zack Clark, Dhruvaa Embar, Isiah Kuruvilla, Nithilan Sridharan and Mahnoor Chaudhry.

Robotics-HHS team

HHS team

They qualified for the event as two-time tournament champions and finalists at the qualifier and regional competitions.

This year’s game, called Over Under, has teams aiming to get colored balls into goals for points. Additional points are given when robots score while hanging from bars.

The high school advisor is Doug Scott.

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