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Bryson robotics wins regionals

Going up against larger schools in competition can be a little daunting.

Bryson knows the feeling heading into regional robotics competition in Wichita Falls recently where the students battled schools up to Class 5A. Many of the competitors were impressed with the sheer size of the team’s … robot.

“The robots had to be no more than a foot in any dimension,” team member and captain Nic Hunter explained. “Our sponsor Mr. (JR) Stearns made sure we were right at a foot in every way. Many of the other robots we saw were quite a bit smaller, like maybe half a foot. We even had one team come up to us and say ‘your robot would eat our robot.’ ”

The squad, and their robot Ads, not only did battle, they won the competition at Midwestern State University and will be heading to State April 25 in Austin. Hunter and fellow senior Trey Budarf along with juniors Brice Foster and Rean Kyzer made up the squad with each member having specific duties.

The Bryson robot used a street sweeper mechanism to get the checkers where they needed to go. Things went perfectly while practicing except for a weight distribution issue on the robot’s tires. With two weeks before competition the robot, which had taken the entire first semester to build, was rebuilt. Much of it was done in an overnight session, but the whole process of programming and practice as well with the new robot to ensure everything was perfect.

Things began to go wrong at competition with the robot doing things wrong each round to the team’s dismay.

“We kept getting stuck on turns and then it would hit a wall,” Stearns commented. “The mats and boards at the competition were bumpy because they had never been used whereas the one we built was smooth from all the work the robot had done on it.”

Stearns said after the rebuild, the robot, which would have trouble doing 90-degree turns previously, was able to do four 360-degree turns with no issue on the tires.

The team worked on fixing some of the issues in between rounds, which typically was around five minutes. Budarf had to construct a whole new ramp while Kyzer and Hunter did some of the programming.

“The kids were more stressed than I was having to do this,” Stearns said. “It was frustrating with everything going perfectly at home and getting (estimated) scores of around 440 and not being able to get 200 (at competition).”

With more than two months before the State competition, Hunter said there is still plenty of work to do.

“We want to make sure that we have things in place so the mistakes don’t happen there,” Hunter said.

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Feb. 12, edition of the Jacksboro Herald-Gazette.

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