Team 696 competes at their second competition in Ventura


Lauren Rovello

Team 696 after the competition.

“From Clark Magnet High School in La Crescenta, Team six-ninety-six!” announced the emcee as he waved the team’s pink and green flag. The four members of drive team who were on the field turned to the rest of their team in the bleachers, who stood out due to their bright pink shirts, and held up their fists. The team responded by screaming and cheering loud enough to be heard from outside the gym.

The emcee introduced the rest of the five teams on the field, then said, “Three-two-one-charge!” The buzzer rang and the match commenced, beginning with the 15-second autonomous period at the annual Ventura regional held at Ventura College March 24-26.

Team 696’s robot, Banshee, rushed forward under the low bar — a 16-inch tall horizontal bar — deposited a ball into the low goal, zipped backwards through the low bar and turned 120 degrees in the position to intake a ball when autonomous period ended.

Junior Daniel Torres, the head programmer, wrote the code for the robot this year. During the meetings between the team’s Los Angeles and Ventura competitions, he worked hard to create an autonomous mode that made Banshee drive over an obstacle on the field, score a goal and drive back to be in the perfect position to begin the teleoperated period, which is the rest of the two-minute and 30-second match during which humans operate their robots.

“Seeing my auto work every time was proof that all the hours I have been spending has not been for nothing.” Torres said. “That I have actually accomplished something that helps my team and shows everyone what I am capable of.”

The team was ranked sixth by the end of qualifying matches and was eliminated in quarterfinals.

After their last match, the four members of drive team — junior Alexander Luke, sophomore Karin Najarian, senior Mika Stanghill, and Torres — could be found in the team’s pit area engaged in a group hug and in — or close to — tears.

“It made me cry because it’s my last year,” Stanghill said. “I’m glad that my last year, my last competition, was spent with these amazing people.”

In addition to making it to quarterfinals, the team won the Gracious Professionalism award.

Before the competition, the team spent time at Buenaventura Beach, only a few blocks away from their hotel. “The beach was nice team bonding activity,” Luke said. “It’s fun to do something with each other than spend time in the lab.”

Senior Mikia Zohrabian was the Head Scout this year. His job was to find optimal robots that were compatible with Team 696’s robot that the team would potentially want on its alliance for playoffs. Zohrabian was disappointed by others’ disappointment about the team’s performance at the competition. “We learned a lot and we had a lot of fun,” he said.