SIS participates in first KAIAC robotics tournament

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Minjae Chun, Design Editor

The SIS Robotics team participated in the first KAIAC-VEX tournament after school on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Members of the team have been practicing for over a month every Monday and Friday in preparation for the competitions in the upcoming winter season. 

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Robotics team competed virtually in the Annex building. The grading categories purely focused on the skills of the players and teams’ ability to control their robot even without any competitor intervention in the field.

“Considering how we missed a great number of Friday practices due to various school functions and holidays, I think our team did great,” David Bonar, head coach of the Robotics team, said. “During the competition, I was very impressed with our members since most of them did not have Robotics experience when they first entered the team. Now, all of them are knowledgeable and skilled in this field.”

Although the Robotics team was founded three years ago, the team had an insufficient number of members to continue competing in regional competitions at the time. In October, however, the Robotics team was recreated with new members and received a financial sponsorship from James Gehard, the high school principal. 

“As a student who has a great passion for coding and mechanics, I am glad that the school decided to re-open doors for the robotics team,” Fabian Roh (11), member of the Robotics team, said. “I enjoyed working with my teammates for the last competition since I was able to fully pursue my interests in developing our team’s robot.” 

In preparation for the KAIAC tournament, the team acquired new, advanced VEX field kits and developed coding strategies to build the robot. Phillip Kim (11), field manager, and Tobias Choy (10), software engineer, closely worked together to assemble the tournament field and practice driving the robot.  

“During the tournament, I was very anxious thinking about how our team’s robot might malfunction or the driver of the robot would make a mistake,” Phillip said. “After the tournament, I was a little frustrated because some of the mistakes that we made were easily fixable. But, overall, I am satisfied just by how my team finished the tournament without facing any major issues.”

The Robotics team is currently devising new strategies and plans for the December, January, and February KAIAC tournaments. In the future, the team is expecting to participate in the VEX Korea National Championship as well. 

“I really hope the upcoming tournaments are in-person,” Tobias said. “I think having the competing robot right next to you will add a whole new level of excitement and fun. Meanwhile, as we wait for that moment to come, our team will continuously put in our efforts to produce the best quality robot possible.”