Team 696 Takes First in Competition


Robotics Team

Team 696 poses with their award-winning robot.

Jessica Bruck, Staff Writer

From Friday November 4, 2022, to Sunday November 6, 2022, Team 696 piled into school buses to make the journey from Clark to Capistrano Valley. They made this trip — three hours, both ways — three times this weekend to test their merit against other high school robotics teams. Forty teams competed in this competition — but 696 came out on top.

Senior Dino Hunter has been with Team 696 since freshman year. He explained how the competition started with 70 qualifying rounds, with only eight teams continuing to the next leg. Two teams of three competed in each round, with Clark’s team taking sixth, overall. The second-ranked team allied with them on Sunday in the final matches.

“We weren’t sure what was going to happen,” Hunter explained, referring to the final matches. “It was a very close call.”

Their robot has been a team effort since January of last year. While there have been other competitions along the way, Hunter described each competition as leading to this prior weekend’s. However, 696 had a few struggles to face: Namely, the absence of their senior members.

Clark’s seniors attended Disneyland on Saturday, leaving some of Team 696 without guidance. “We had a bunch of new rookies,” Hunter said. “We had to train a lot of new people in time to know how the robot works.”

“We had very little practice,” Mr. Ohanis, Clark’s engineering teacher and 696’s advisor, explained. “Last year, we had our seniors, who were the drivers. This is a new team: A new driver, new controllers…We were fresh.”

Unfortunately, Clark’s team is limited in their time to practice. The only suitable location is the gym — which is usually unavailable. On top of that, the team needs an hour — sometimes more — to set up the gym. It’s another hour to dismantle their equipment afterwards. 

This makes their win all the more impressive.

“We won the quality award from the judges, as well as the whole event,” Alex Boghossian said. According to the team, this was the first time in the history of the competition that this had been done. For Team 696, this was more than a win: it was bouncing back. According to Mr. Ohanis, this was the third competition for the new team, who had very little practice prior to competing. 

Overall, it was a very exciting weekend for everyone.