Bishop Kelley Students Head to State Robotics Competition

Bishop Kelley will send a team to the first robotics state tournament in Weatherford this weekend.

Mary Jo Othon, a teacher at the high school, said that her students will face 35 other teams from all over Oklahoma.

"This is our third season to compete," Othon said. "So there's zero plans and they give us the parts and we just have to think outside the box."

Read Hanisch, sophomore at Bishop Kelley, explained that at the start of the competition students receive a game and that they have to use the robots to score as many points as possible.

The students spent several months weighing the pros and cons of various robot designs and strategies, before finally building. They qualified for the state competition in January.

The competition is divided into three parts. The first is autonomous mode, which means they have to program the robot and can't control it during the first 30 seconds. The second mode allows for students to use two remote controls to make the robot pick up and drop blocks into baskets. The last part requires the robot to either hang the robot on a bar or raise a flag.

"We decided, the first thing we decided to do was that hanging is the most points out of everything so we decided to work on that first," Hanisch said. "

Hanisch said that the team had split into groups, discussed designs and sketched various designs. Out of all the ideas, they put together their robot.

Rachel Sharp, a junior at Bishop Kelley, joined the robotics team after being urged to attend a meeting with friends. Sharp said that in the meeting she offered a solution to a problem other members had and they asked her to stay.

Sharp said there are two parts to the competition besides the actual game; Students build the robots, but also have to document the process, ideas and changes in a notebook.

"We've had different kinds of robots and we've seen what works and we've tweaked it," Sharp said.

The team's current design uses two remotes to control the robot during one part of the competition.