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LJHS robotics team gears up for events

By Hector Trujillo

In hopes of making it to the national finals, the recently formed La Jolla High School Robotics Team is hoping for a strong showing at two competitions coming up the first and last weeks of March.

The five-member team, made up of four seniors and one junior, will first compete at the San Diego for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Competition (FIRST) on March 6 and 7. They then move on to a competition in Las Vegas on March 27 and 28 where, depending on their performance, the team could qualify for the national tournament held in Atlanta on April 16.

“We would have to win in some category to qualify for the nationals,” said Greg Volger, a teacher and the team’s coach. “The students have spent numerous weekends and late nights in constructing the robot.”

The competing robots come from dozens of schools. Teams are set up in a three-against-three format within a specially built area composed of slick surfaces making driving difficult.

“The (La Jolla High School) robot that has been constructed stands about five feet tall and can gather special balls and shoot them,” Volger added. “The robot also has a camera that can be programmed to go after opponents during the game.”

If the team makes it to the finals, their robot will be among 500 other robots that are expected to compete on six fields in the Georgia Dome for this year’s national title.

Judges bestow a combination of awards based on the machine, creativity and innovation, and team performance. They select teams to win awards at each of the regional competitions and at The Championship.

Other awards are selected by the teams themselves, safety advisers and outside panels of experts. This is the first year that the La Jolla High School has competed in FIRST competitions.