By Sri Patil, for the Reporter
Beaver Lake Middle school Robotics FTC teams, Beta Bionix (17595) and Alpha Intelligence (15337), won the FIRST Tech Challenge Washington State Championship as Winning Alliance First and Second picks respectively on Jan. 28.
Beta Bionix also won the Control Award at the Washington State Championship. The Winning Alliance consists of three teams, including a captain, in addition to the First and Second picks.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the leading Robotics organization for students aged 18 and under, has various Robotics programs, and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is for students of age 12 to 18, typically seventh to 12th graders. The competitions are held annually with the FTC competition season starting in September and ending in April.
The current FTC season named “Power Play”, requires robots to stack cones on poles of different heights including at ground level, working as an alliance of two teams against another alliance of two teams in every match, on a field that is 12’ x 12’, with every match lasting 2 minutes and 30 seconds, of which the first 30 seconds are based on autonomous actions by the robot, while the remaining 2 minutes are driver controlled. (Video of an actual game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSYJtQL5eiM).
The Robots have a starting size under 18” in all three dimensions and typically weigh 20 to 30 pounds. Apart from winning the Robot games to try and win the championship, teams are also awarded for the best Robot Design, Innovation, Software Control, Motivating and Connecting with other Robotics teams and the STEM community.
Beaver Lake Middle School’s robotics club has been at the pinnacle of middle and elementary school robotics programs in the Issaquah School District, under the leadership of the robotics teacher Mr. Kevin Christensen, with the unwavering support provided by Principal Ms. Kathryn Coffin and guidance provided by parent volunteers like Mr. Sri Patil and Ms. Li Li. The Robotics club continued to meet remotely during the COVID years, ensuring that the Robotics club members never lost the continuity in their passion.
Team Beta Bionix won the Inspire Award, and the Winning Alliance First pick award, while Alpha Intelligence won the Winning Alliance Captain Award, at the regional competition for the Tesla Interleague on Dec. 18, 2022, to qualify for the Washington State Championship, after having had a great season leading up to it, including Beta Bionix achieving a world record high score.
Thirty-two FTC teams make it to the WA State Championship after qualifying from one of five Interleague competitions. The two Beaver Lake Middle school FTC teams, were the only middle school teams to qualify for the WA State Championship, and for both of those teams to proceed to win the WA State Championship after upsetting the top-seeded alliance, was unprecedented and cinematic to watch. Here’s what the captain of Beta Bionix, Rohan Patil had to say: “We are very proud to have accomplished this as middle school teams!”
At the Washington State Championship, after the qualifiers and alliance selections for play-offs, the two Beaver Lake Middle school teams had been picked up by the third alliance captain – team DRIFT from Woodinville High School. For semi-finals the third alliance went up against the second alliance, defeating them in well-fought matches, with Beta Bionix winning with a score of 206-149 and Alpha Intelligence winning with a score of 238-205, for a winning tally of 2-0.
For the finals, the third alliance went up against the first alliance, which was captained by the first-ranked team, and in what seemed like an implausible task, both the Beaver Lake Middle school teams took shocking and dramatic victories in their respective finals matches, with Beta Bionix winning with a score of 230-201 and Alpha Intelligence winning with a score of 200-170, for a championship-winning tally of 2-0.
The well-engineered design approach based on game strategy, and the tens of hours of dedicated practice had paid off for both the Beaver Lake Middle school teams!
Beta Bionix has 14 team members, a mix of eighth and seventh graders, and they are: Rohan Patil, Warren Chiu, Aairah Sofi, Arjun Vasu, Rishi Niranjan, Harry Liu, Isha Patil, Ashish Naik, Naman Khurana, Harishankar Plackada, Matthias Rojas, Raiha Bhuiyan, Shreshta Ayyalasomayajula and Siddharth Parreddi.
Videos of play-offs (final scores are shown at the end of each of the videos):
Video of first semi-finals match: https://youtu.be/y0EMMyAK5cA?t=122
Video of the second semi-final match: https://youtu.be/tnF94Kte_Ck?t=122
Video of first finals match: https://youtu.be/7N_UW6BNcnE?t=212
Video of second finals match: https://youtu.be/7Npnokk8GSE?t=192