Clark Chronicle

Chezy Champs tournament hints at improvement ahead

Team 696 battles the best in the west

Victoria Bochniak, Website Editor

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Anticipation skyrocketed as the results from the fifth annual Chezy Champs competition held last month ranked Clark’s robotics team, Team 696, in the middle percentile amongst 39 other teams in the nation, impeding the team’s continuation in the competitions playoffs. Despite the team’s outcome, the tournament, which was hosted in San Jose, provided the team with a learning experience and ideas for further improvement.

Chezy Champs is a premiere off-season FIRST robotics tournament hosted by the undefeated Team 254. The competition took place from Sept. 28-30 at Bellarmine College Preparatory and featured 40 teams from around the nation. Participating teams were selected by invite only to partake in the competitive tournament which was organized in a series of 70 qualification matches.

This is the fifth year Team 696 has been invited to the competition with 21 students attending the field trip. The team participated in ten qualification matches with a final result of five matches won and five matches lost, ranking the team in the middle. Unfortunately, the team was not selected for the playoffs; however, team coordinator and robotics teacher, David Black, utilized the competition to determine what the team needed to improve on in the future. “This was our first event of the school year and we use it to practice, prepare, and refine for our upcoming events,” Black said.

With five new members on the team attending the field trip, the competition served as a learning opportunity both on and off the playing field testing teamwork and communication, as well as an opportunity to view outside inspiration regarding robot design and technique. While some students were just beginning to learn, other existing members reminisced their growth as a team player throughout the years.

“I’ve been going on these trips since sophomore year and it’s always a great learning experience, especially this competition where you get to see world renowned teams with groundbreaking robots,” said senior Noraik Krakishyan, driver of Team 696’s robot. “It’s hard to imagine how much I’ve improved and the position I have on the team today.”

Other students saw the competition as a chance to look into future improvements and approaches.  “The competition didn’t go as we had hoped for, as we didn’t make it too far into it. Even though in the moment it was disappointing, it’s also a moment to learn from and improve,” said senior Ismail Hasan, head programmer on Team 696.

The trip was more than just about the robots. On Friday, students were taken on an exclusive tour of the NASA Ames Research Center, an opportunity not usually available to the public. Team members viewed the machine shop, which provides a wide access to a full range of tools and electronic equipment, as well as, the Vertical Motion Simulator, the largest flight simulator in the world. The team also explored the Computer History Museum, the world’s leading institution in computer artifacts from hardware and documents to photographs and moving images.

“Our trips aside from the competition help students interested in aerospace engineering see the facility and work atmosphere up close which is important for those considering to do this in the future,” Krakishyan said. “This trip prepares students not only for competitions but also for the industry.”

Before returning to Clark on Monday, the students didn’t miss the opportunity to go sightseeing San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the Cable Car Museum.

As work continues for approaching competitions, the team hopes for better outcomes in their upcoming tournament on Oct. 13-14. “Our next competition is called Beach Blitz in Marina High School in Huntington Beach,” Black said. “This competition is free and open to the public,so Clark students and teachers are welcome to attend and watch our team perform.”

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Chezy Champs tournament hints at improvement ahead