Eleven South Forsyth High School students will head to California in April for what’s been described as the World Series of robotics.
The students won a qualifying competition, held recently at the Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology, earning them a spot in the 2013 VEX Robotics High School World Championship.
As with major professional sports playoffs, robotics coach Nick Crowder said the excitement over the teams’ performance was short lived and the focus has turned to preparing for the big tournament.
“They’re extremely good at building robots and coming up with strategies of how to win,” Crowder said.
He’s confident in his students, but doesn’t want to “jinx it” by predicting how they’ll perform against students from across the globe.
Four teams from South participated in the qualifying event. During the competition, eight alliances were formed, each with three teams, which went on to compete in a bracket-style competition of tasks the robots had to perform.
Two South teams joined with a group from Parkview High School to form the alliance that went on to claim the tournament title.
Crowder said the students had robots on both defense and offense and were able to quickly adapt to the challenges made by the opposing alliance.
“I don’t really coach them at this point,” he said. “They’re so good I just let them do what they do. I’m just there for support.
“Our kids are really awesome at this. They’re really good at forming strategies and they’re very good at what they do.”
According to Crowder, one team plans to make tweaks to its robot prior to the competition in April, while the other may not make any changes, partly because those students are involved in a number of other competitions and projects.
“If they didn’t have so many other things that they were doing through engineering, probably they’d take him apart and rebuild,” Crowder said.
Regardless of how much tinkering is involved, they’ll be prepared for April.
“They’re really, really serious about what they do and extremely competitive,” Crowder said. “We’re excited to make the trip.”