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ECG Robotics Team Advances to Super Regionals

“The most exhilarating feeling of our life,” is how Early College student Shami Chideya, a member of ECG’s Robotics club, describes winning the State Finals on February 18, 2017.

Two of the club’s FTC (First Tech Challenge) teams, team 731, Wannabee Strange, and team 5795, Back to the Drawing Board, advanced to the Super Regionals competition scheduled for March 19 through March 22.

The ECG Robotics team was founded in 2004 and has since grown from one team to five, with over 60 members this year. Team 5795’s advancement to Super Regionals this season marks the team’s second consecutive state-level qualification, while this will be team 731’s first year qualifying for Super Regionals.

Wannabee Strange and Back to the Drawing Board won as an alliance team at the State Finals this year after four months of serious dedication and intense work.

“I can’t think of any other club at ECG that has as big of a time commitment as ECG Robotics,” said Early College student Mohammad Haveliwala, a member of team 5795.

The teams have been working since mid-September, allowing them to create incredibly complex robots capable of great speed, astonishing accuracy and impressive agility. The amount of work that goes into creating the machines pays off when competitions roll around; Team 731 placed first in the qualifying rounds of the State-level competition, allowing them to form an alliance with their sister team.

The ECG alliance competed against Aperture Science, a rival robotics team with an excellent reputation and consistent results with their robots in previous years. Though ECG lost the first match, they tied with Aperture Science in the second match (a very unusual outcome), and won the third match, meaning a fourth match was needed to break the tie that had inevitably been drawn.

The competing alliances’ goal for the competition was to shoot a certain amount of whiffle balls into a vortex, along with performing well during the first 30 seconds of the match, known as autonomous.

The autonomous period is meant to display the robot’s programming and show how the robot works without a driver controlling it and the students’ tireless work into perfecting the programming for the robot is what helped them win the competition.

“The 731 robot broke down in the middle of tele.op., and they are our primary shooter … an amazing shooter, incredibly accurate,” said Chideya, who explained the intense, nail-biting fourth match. It was the perfect execution of the autonomous program that gave the alliance a huge advantage and scored them major points, so much so that despite the malfunction they were still able to beat Aperture Science 145 to 125.

Early College student Ashley Myers, the coach for the drivers of team 5795, says winning was “a very euphoric moment… it was a sight to see.”

The ECG Robotics club is not only a competition club but also a club that focuses on community outreach and getting other students interested in STEM.

A major part of the club, aside from competing, is reaching out into the community to

introduce young students to the wonders of STEM and how it applies to robotics. Team 5795 won an award, the Inspire Award for outstanding community outreach at this year’s State Finals.

Some of their outreach activities for the season include visiting and demonstrating at various elementary schools in Guilford County, a demonstration at the Greensboro Children’s Museum and participating in the Guilford County Science Fair. The members of the robotics club seem to truly love what they do. Early College student Alan Jin, one of the newest members of the team, says that he is “mostly excited because it’s fun… it’s the entire experience that’s fun, not just the competition.”

With Super Regionals fast approaching, team 5795 and team 731 are working harder than ever to perfect their robots in hopes that they will qualify for the Worlds competition later this year and claim an impressive victory for the whole ECG community.

Winning Super Regionals would not only be a victory for ECG but also for Guilford College; the success of the Robotics team reflects well on Guilford College and the amazing STEM-based courses offered.

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