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South Forsyth robotics team attends world championship

SOUTH FORSYTH -- A team of students from South Forsyth High School recently competed in the 2015 VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Ky.

The competition featured more than 400 high school teams from around the world and nation, including 19 from Georgia.

“It had a lot of different divisions, from everyone from elementary school all the way up to college,” said Eric Stronzesky, team member. “We competed in the high school division.”

South Forsyth’s team, the Bagelbots, was made up of four seniors — Stronzesky and Gabriel Arkanum, Ryan Burke and Quinn Middleton — who designed a balanced robot that could compete in all five divisions of the competition.

“We had designed our robot to be simple, but reliable and able to complete all the tasks on the field at one time,” Arkanum said. “We’ve been working on the robot since September last year.

“We went through a couple of designs and eventually were able to settle on this one. It was able to do everything that we needed to do.”
Teams were paired into alliances, and competed to see who could stack cubes on top of poles.

“The game was to take these eight-inch cubes and score them onto posts,” he said. “There was a number of posts around the perimeter of the 12- foot field and there was a sky rise which was a number of yellow posts that we had to stack up and put cubes on top of that.

“Usually we built the sky rise up and put cubes on top of it, but sometimes other robots did that better than us.”

The event truly was a world championship and featured schools from nearly every continent, which provided unique challenges for South Forsyth’s team.

“Since there were teams all around the world, we got paired up with a Chinese team and a Korean team, who could not speak English, so communicating with them was a challenge,” Stronzesky said.

“We ended up creating sign language and took out drawings of the field and of the robots to communicate with them on a graphical level.”

Prior to the world championship, the team participated in the Georgia state tournament at Ola High School in McDonough.

Both Stronzesky and Arkanum said they plan to pursue engineering degrees in college.

Arkanum said it was his first chance to go to the world competition.

“I’ve been doing VEX Robotics for six years, so it was kind of good to finally qualify for world and get to go,” he said.