Team 696 gets the W


Samuel Witt

Sophomore Samuel Thompson releasing the rope during the final 20 seconds of the match to let the robot climb for a 50 point bonus.

Trisha Gomez, Photographer

Clark’s FIRST Robotics Team 696 won the 2017 Los Angeles Regional Competition, making this the first win in 10 years, and second in the school’s history. This year’s competition took place at the Long Beach Convention Center March 23-26, against 59 other teams from across California, Hawaii, Arizona and even Chile.

The team remained undefeated through nine qualification rounds, quarterfinals, two of three matches in the semifinals, plus the finals. “It was expected,” said junior Jake Goff. “We normally get to the finals and semifinals, but we don’t make it as far as we did. It feels really incredible. It’s the first time we’ve done this in a long time. It’s cool to have the opportunity to go to the championships.”

“We had six weeks to build the robot, technically,” said senior Samuel Witt. “However, components such as the climber mechanism and shooting mechanism were worked on after the six weeks, not on the real robot, but the practice robot, so that when the time came, we popped it onto the real robot.”

Other than working during class time and enrichment, members worked out of those time blocks. “We didn’t really stay after school on weekdays,” said senior Lousaper Boghosian. “So we stayed on Fridays until 6, and then Saturdays and Sundays.”

This year’s robot, Cascade, has a gear shoot which is one of its main features that gave the team an advantage over the others. “We have a gear shoot that spans the entire length of the robot, so even if there is some human error with the game player and they drop the gear into a robot, it can still go where it’s supposed to,” said junior Karin Najarian. Another feature that gave them an advantage was their speed. “Our speed gave us an advantage over the others,” Boghosian said. “We had one of the fastest robots.”

In addition to this win, the team received the Quality Award sponsored by Motorola, making it their fourth win within six years.

The team will also be competing in Phoenix, Arizona April 5-8 and in Houston, Texas April 19-23.

See our article on our Robotics teams’ performance at Houston and Phoenix here.