The Collins-Maxwell Robotics Team competed at the state FIRST Tech Challenge tournament on Feb. 21 and 22 in Coralville. They placed 12th in the black division with a record of 3-3 and a high round of 193 points. Two of their three losses were by less than 6 points. The robot performed flawlessly, with zero breakdowns or equipment failures.

In December, our students participated in a FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifier, where they were on the winning alliance and advanced to state. They were one of 48 teams who advanced out of 174 teams in the state.

This year the challenges for the robot included picking up blocks and dumping them into a teetering basket, and raising a flag up a flagpole and suspending from a bar. Our robot used conveyor belt and moving holding basket to move the blocks and a motor with attachment to raise the flag.

Each match consisted of a 30-second autonomous period, where the robot maneuvered the field without the aid of our team. Our robot drove up on the platform and dumped a block into the teetering baskets during autonomous period. The autonomous period was followed by a 2.5-minute driving period, where two members of our team used game controllers to direct the movements of the robot. Each team had an alliance with another robot on the floor and the goal was to help your alliance score as many points as possible by working together.

The team began working in September with representatives from other Iowa high schools, the University of Iowa staff, Rockwell-Collins engineers and our teaching staff to complete the project. A special thanks to Mr. Haupert for the extra time he put in helping the team fabricate parts and build the field.

Thanks to all the parents who provided transportation and support. The team would also like to thank the administration, staff and coaches, Cherri Bates and Jon Aldrich, for their support leading up to the competition.

The team also received donations of materials and money from the following businesses, Nevada Hardware and BASF.