The students on Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy’s Gr 9-12 robotics team, the Beak Squad #4028, created an outstanding new robot for their February through April competition season. Every year, FIRST Robotics creates a new challenge. Under strict rules and limited time and resources, teams design, build, program and test an autonomous and driver operated industrial-size robot in 6 weeks to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. Beak Squad students worked together to design, build, and code “Octavian,” a robot that uses holonomic drive (move in all directions), intake game pieces (yellow balls), shoot them into targets from up to 37 feet away, and uses a climbing mechanism to suspend itself on a swinging bar. The climber is quite possibly the most impressive robot feature as it uses 775 constant force springs, reaches six feet in the air, and pulls the entire 110-pound robot off the ground.
Miami Valley Regional (MVR) is the first stop in the Beak Squad’s competition season. Held at the Wright State Nutter Center, it spanned three exciting days. At MVR, 60 teams compete in 90 qualification matches to give rise to the top eight teams who select alliances. During qualification matches, Octavian’s climber helped the Beak Squad win 10 out of 13 matches, landing the team the #4 spot heading into alliance selections. With a high ranking and robot data students scouted, they created a strong alliance with two other teams. After winning 2 Quarterfinal matches, the Beak Squad’s alliance finished as Semifinals.
Our disappointment at an early MVR finish was overshadowed when Beak Squad sophomore Parker Johnson won the Dean’s List Finalist Award. This award recognizes hard work, leadership skills, personal technical expertise and accomplishment. Beak Squad Head Coach Andy Ciarniello’s nomination and Parker’s performance as Co-Team Captain earned her one of only two spots and a first time win in 4028 history. She will have a chance at some of the $80 million available in scholarships because she is a great example of student leaders who have led their teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission. Prestigious colleges have expressed great interest in meeting FIRST Dean’s List’s Award winners.
With this year’s Miami Valley Regional over, the Beak Squad had planned to enhance their robot and perform even better at Smokey Mountain Regional in Tennessee at the end of March. For information on how to become a Beak Squad member or sponsor, visit www.beaksquad.org and look for us on social media @beaksquad4028.
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