After months of planning and weeks in the actual build season, Team SCREAM is ready for competition.
The team will travel to the Greater Kansas City Regional competition March 10-12 with Tempest, its latest and most advanced robot to date.
“We’re really excited to go and compete. We have a lot of high hopes and expectations for this season,” Team SCREAM coach and Smith-Cotton instructional technology teacher Michael Wright said. “This year’s competition features a lot of physical contests and high contact.
“We really feel that we have created a robust, heavy duty robot that will be able to withstand the rigors and challenges we are going to face,” Wright added. “Our scouting teams have been doing a lot of advanced work and watching match video, and we think we are there.”
Tempest is unlike any robot the team has ever built.
In past seasons, the robots have been tall — last year’s robot, Kong, was four-feet by six-feet. Tempest is low and compact with a height of 16 inches and was built to go fast and hard, according to Wright.
“We built Tempest to have fast cycle times and we think it can out-maneuver anyone we face on the playing field,” Wright said. “We’re not worried about defense because we believe with the design we will be able to out-maneuver our competitors.”
One part to the design that is not included in Tempest is a climbing component, which the team is working to develop but does not feel is critical to the success of the contest based on the strategy the team hopes to employ.
“We named it Tempest because that’s what we are going to be out there on the field,” senior driver and team captain Levi Anderson said. “A tempest is a giant storm that destroys everything in its path and that’s what we hope to do this season.
“I don’t know if we are ever truly ready for what may happen,” Anderson added. “I think we look at it like Murphy’s Law because a big part of the competition is not knowing what to expect but being prepared for what may happen; we know we need to be flexible.”
Wright added that the team is never completely done with a build.
“We can always improve and add to our robots,” Wright said. “There are always opportunities to learn from each competition and what we do.”
Team members have put in thousands of hours during the 40-day build season but are continuing to refine what they will bring to the competition.
“We can bring 30 pounds of fabricated materials with us for spare parts,” Wright said. “We are in the process of determining what we need to bring with us as opposed to what we can make if needed.
“There is still a lot of work to be done before we leave with Tempest Wednesday (March 9),” Wright said. “The drive team is still practicing with our spare robot and the pit crew is finalizing their layouts.
“The scouting team will be at work throughout the next week analyzing video and using a scouting app that they designed,” Wright added. “All of the kids have been working incredibly hard on this and now we want to get there and compete.”
Forty-two students will take part in the two-day competition.
“Each match is two minutes and 30 seconds long and we have 10 matches in the qualifying round,” Wright said. “There are nine more matches after our qualifying rounds get to the final match.”
Wright and Anderson said the team feels very satisfied with Tempest.
“I think one of the things that held us back in the past was that we were afraid to go for it,” Anderson said. “We held back in past competitions but this year I don’t think any of us are afraid to do whatever it takes to win it all.”
Aside from the fact this is the final year of competition for Anderson and the other seniors, it is also the final year of competition for Wright as well.
Wright has resigned his position in the Sedalia School District 200 and has accepted the job as director of the CTC at State Fair Community College effective July 1.
“I’ve been extremely grateful for the opportunity I have had to be part of this team and to have the opportunity to compete with them one more season,” Wright said. “It means a great deal to represent the team and school and community.
“We have had some wonderful mentors and sponsors who have done so much to help us and their support has been invaluable,” Wright added. “Now we’re ready to go and win.”
The Greater Kansas City Regionals Competition is available for livestream viewing at the blue alliance/game day on both Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 11.
To watch Team SCREAM’s reveal video of Tempest visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG_Ogeq6S2M.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484