Team 696 HANGS around the Long Beach Arena


Andrea Zazquez

The team works on the robot between matches, making sure the code is correct and all the mechanisms still work.

Banshee screamed as it pulled itself up on the castle wall with its “Hands of God” just as the final buzzer of the match rang and the crowd cheered.

Senior Mika Stanghill and junior Alexander Luke entered the field to lift the robot off the castle and onto the robot cart which was then taken to the team’s pit area to exchange the battery and prepare it for the next match at the Los Angeles Regional in the Long Beach Arena that took place last weekend.

The team named the robot Banshee because when the telescoping arms that are used to climb extend and retract, the gearbox that controls them makes a horrible shrieking noise.

Junior Anthony Karroum, the designer of the telescoping arms, thinks that the hard work that was put into perfecting them paid off during competition. This mechanism is what earned the team the Excellence in Engineering Award from the judges at the event. The arms were dubbed the “Hands of God” because Banshee was one of the few robots at the event that could climb successfully.

“I thought competition went well,” said Stanghill, president of Team 696. “For me, it was one of the best we’ve ever had.” She was glad to see the students were really passionate about their jobs which made it easier for her to trust them to do her best.

Junior Daniel Torres is on the Drive Team for the first time this year. “It was scary, knowing that I can make a mistake that the whole team will see, but during the match, I felt like there was nothing else but me, the robot, Alexander, and the pool noodle Mika held in the air.”

Torres, the team's programmer, fixes the robot's code as Luke looks on.
Lauren Rovello
Torres, the team’s programmer, fixes the robot’s code as Luke looks on.

The human element of this year’s game involves one member of each drive team, the “human player” standing in the “Spy Box” using signals to help the driver and operator “see” behind the obstacles that obstructed the view of the robot. Team 696’s human player was Stanghill who taped a pink and green pool noodle together end-to-end to help with the signaling.

Green means “continue doing what you’re doing; nothing is going to go wrong” and pink means “stop what you’re doing and reconsider” because either the robot was on top of a ball or it wasn’t in the correct position to climb.

Team 696 got to semifinals and lost in the second match with a score of 105 to 160. “I think we did well, considering the fact that we had first time drivers and we made it to semis and lost against an alliance that had a world championship and a world championship finalist,” said Luke, Vice President of the team

However, he is not ready to say that the team has reached its peak for the season yet. “We can do a lot more. And that’s what we have to do if we want to get further.”
The Circuit Breakers will be competing next at the Ventura Regional March 24–26.