Robotics team to national competition in Houston

Chill Out members look at the field in anticipation as they compete in the PNW District Competition. The team will advance this year to the national competition in Houston as one of only 39 teams from the northwest region.

By Stephi Smith, Executive Editor

The Robotics team, Chill Out 1778, will head to the FIRST Robotics national competition in Houston, Texas later this week. Only 39 teams from the northwest division will advance.

The team qualified for the competition for the first time in team history, after having gone twice for winning the “all-star rookie” award in 2006 and winning a lottery in 2012.

Chill Out just competed in the PNW District Competition this past month, racking up enough points to place them among the top four teams in northwest, according to Robotics President Ian Davidson. For the past two years, Chill Out has made it to the PNW Districts, but just fallen short of national qualifications.

This year, Davidson said, has been different in regards to the team working together more during competitions.

“Everyone has their job,” he said, going on to explain how some members of Chill Out work on scouts, some are drivers for the robot, some are in charge of electrical engineering, among other responsibilities.

At the PNW Districts, Chill Out made its way to semifinals and on to “eliminations,” in which the winning teams are selected to further in the competition. Robotics Treasurer Eugene Seubert said the eliminations round are where it all happens, when some teams advance but some are disqualified from further competing.

The team will leave tomorrow for their flight to Houston. According to Seubert, the robot is already in Texas, shipped last week from Washington.

The national competition also hosts sessions and workshops, in which teams from all over the world can learn from other teams and work on their own personal and team-wide improvement.

Davidson hopes the team will do well at nationals, but otherwise, he just hopes his team will learn from the experience.