Last Saturday, the 15th of October, Highland’s Robotics Club went to Frontier for their second competition of the season in the Kern Robotics High School League. This competition, consisting of 29 matches from 8:45 to 11:30, saw 24 teams from North, Frontier, Shafter, Highland, Centennial, Liberty, McFarland, and East come together to have fun and put their robots to the test.
Before getting into how the competition at Frontier went for Highland, I’d recommend watching this short video on the game mode the teams are playing which does a great job explaining the rules and introducing terms you may see later in this article. VEX Robotics Competition: Spin Up | 2022 – 2023 Game
Left: Highland G’s robot. Right: Highland Y’s robot.
Even though matches were set to begin at 8:45, both of Highland’s teams, Highland G and Highland Y made sure to arrive an hour earlier to set up their equipment and make any last-minute changes to their robots and code. When asked about last-minute changes, Jack H., one of team Y’s builders and its main driver, explained how his team had designed and built a catapult for their expansion mechanism in the week leading up to the competition. That very morning at Frontier they had to adjust the height of their roller so it could actually score them points. Jack also noted that their catapult helped them win one of their matches.
As Highland’s teams worked on their robots, more and more teams arrived and began making adjustments of their own. After fine-tuning their robots and code followed by a brief speech from the competition’s referees, the teams were ready to begin their matches.
The 2nd match of the day saw Highland’s two teams face off against each other. Highland G was allied with Liberty C and Highland Y was matched with Centennial A. Centennial A and Highland Y took the Autonomous, winning 10 points, and went on to win the match 121-26, improving the previous point record by 3 points.
Match 8 saw Highland Y and Centennial A win 99-22 against Liberty B and North S despite losing the Autonomous.
In Match 11, Highland G and Frontier D tied in the Autonomous period and won 50-35 against Frontier C and Centennial F.
In Match 15, Highland Y teamed with Shafter C to win the Autonomous and the match 88-42 against Frontier’s A and F teams.
During Match 16, Highland G and Shafter B lost against East A and North R 45-60.
In Match 19, Highland G and McFarland won 71-64 against Centennial Y and Liberty B despite losing autonomous and delivering Centennial Y their only loss so far.
Match 22 saw Highland Y and East A win the Autonomous period but lose 48-68 against Liberty A and Frontier A.
Match 25 was Highland G’s last of the day in which they and Frontier B lost 31-72 against North R and Frontier F.
Match 27 was Highland Y’s final game which they won together with Centennial F 59-48 against McFarland A and Shafter A.
At the end of the competition, Highland Y had an overall record of 7 wins and 3 losses and was ranked 4th in the league. Highland G finished with an overall score of 4 wins 5 losses and 1 tie and is 14th in the league. When Highland Y’s Jack H. was asked about his team’s performance, he explained that they had done better than he expected but they have room to improve, especially in the design of the robot, where its structural stability could see some upgrades.
In addition to the regular competition, this event had the Skills Challenges open for teams to participate in. The two Skills Challenges for teams are Driving Skills and Programming Skills. In both, teams have 1 minute to score as many points as possible using any goal. They differ in how the robots are controlled. In Driving Skills, a team member must control their robot while in Programming Skills, a premade program is used to control where the robot moves and how it scores points.
In between their matches, Highland Y made several attempts at the skills challenges, their highest score for driving being 29 points and 14 points for programming. With a combined score of 43 points, Highland Y is ranked 6 out of the 9 teams who attempted the skills challenges.
If you’re interested in seeing what these matches look like, you can visit the Kern Robotics Youtube channel where videos of every AM League and PM League match in the Kern Robotics High School League are posted. (Highland’s teams compete in the AM League!) You can also find content on Highland Robotics’ Youtube channel, HHS Robotics, where GoPro footage from Highland Y’s robot is uploaded.