Students gain experiences at home robotics tournament

Devin Henk, Reporter

Teams from Nebraska and Missouri put their engineering and programming skills to the test at the second annual robotics tournament hosted by the school. Fifty teams participated including three from Bryan. Two of the three Bears’ teams made it to the finals but were knocked out in the first round. 

“I think that our teams did a really good job overcoming the adversity they experienced at the beginning of the day with the sticker shock of the competition and 50 teams and seeing all of these elite teams there,” Robotics teacher Alexander Muessigmann said.  

Robotics promotes engineering and programming by providing students a chance to develop a robot to compete in various challenges.  Out of the 10 people that participate in robotics for BHS, five could compete. At least two people from each team had to be present during the match.  

“I felt happy and at the same time not because of how things were going but it was a bit exciting and very interesting,” sophomore Mark Sanchez said. “We also learned from each match, and we got some greater idea from others and ways to score or more.”  

Each year, the game changes and the rules change as well. The game this year was named “Spin up.” In this game, two teams go against each other in a two-versus-two format and score points by shooting frisbee discs into a disc golf hole within the playing area. If players were to miss, the disc would land in the other team’s scoring zone which would give them points. Teams could also score points by moving rollers using a wheel. In the last ten seconds of the match, bots could use an expansion mechanism that scored points based on how many tiles were covered. Whoever had the most points by the end of the game time would win the match.  

“Robotics itself is a great avenue for students who want to get into an engineering career field, coding field, or just want to take building LEGO sets a step further,” Muessigmann said. “They get to really dive into the creative nature, which is the design method, construction method, and when all of these methods come together, it is the problem-solving method that comes with any adversities someone can experience within life.” 

Hosting VEX competitions helps fund the robotics program and allows students to get involved. Students from clubs around the school such as Latino Leaders and the National Honor Society were able to help which allowed the tournament to run smoothly.  

“I helped set up because I wanted to be open to something new and I wanted to walk away knowing that I made something work.” sophomore Vaeh Payne said. 

Robotics was a new class introduced this school year and is available to students at any grade level.