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Robohounds Return from World Championships

Clayton's robotics team competed at the First World Championship

Much+of+the+tournament+took+place+in+Houston%27s+George+R.+Brown+Convention+Center.
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Robohounds Return from World Championships

Much of the tournament took place in Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center.

Much of the tournament took place in Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center.

Luka Bassnett

Much of the tournament took place in Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center.

Luka Bassnett

Luka Bassnett

Much of the tournament took place in Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center.

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On Sunday morning, Clayton High School’s robotics team arrived in St. Louis after taking part in the First Robotics Competition Houston World Championship. The Clayton team (known as ‘The Robohounds’), had arrived at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center by bus on Wednesday, and competed in a number of matches over the next four days.

Getting to the competition was a challenge in itself. Following a six-week build season in January and February, First Robotics teams compete in two of many regional competitions held around the world. To qualify for the Houston tournament, the Robohounds first had to win one of these events. After winning the St. Louis regional, the team then had only a month to raise the $23,000 needed to cover registration fees and the cost of hotels and two 16-hour bus rides.

Luka Bassnett
Uh-Oh! Clayton’s robot falls over at the World Championships

Several of the older Robohounds remember the last time their team competed at this level, during the 2017 robotics season. To younger students however, this year’s tournament provided a completely new experience. Koray Akduman, a CHS sophomore and first-year robotics member, was impressed by the Houston tournament. “It was fun!”, Akduman said, “There were announcers and stuff, which made it kind of more formal … and it looked like people worked more on it compared to other tournaments [that I’ve been to]”.

The Robohounds were unlucky during the initial stages of the tournament, experiencing a number of technical problems. In their first match, a programming error forced Clayton’s robot to tip over in the first few seconds of the game, rendering it inoperable and causing the team to lose the match.

Later, a connection problem with one of the robot’s joysticks left it paralyzed for half of a match. In Clayton’s final match on Thursday, another robot smashed into the Robohounds’, breaking off a critical component.

Faced with these early issues, the team lost its first six qualification matches. By Friday afternoon, however, the Robohounds had rallied, winning two of their final three matches to finish 55th out of the 67 teams in their division.

Luka Bassnett

Unfortunately, these successes were not enough. In order to advance to the playoff stage of the competition, a team must finish either within the top eight in its division, or be selected by one of these teams as an alliance member. Even with their late victories, the Robohounds’ standing had not improved enough to make it to the playoffs, and the team was eliminated from the competition on Saturday morning.

“You can always do better”, said Coby Beauchamp, a sophomore finishing his second year on the robotics team. “I think we did [well] with … the teams we were presented with and the resources we had. I think we did a good job.”

For logistical reasons, the Robohounds stayed in Houston for the remainder of the competition, getting to see the championship’s final match (held in the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park) before heading back to St. Louis.

Luka Bassnett
The First World Championship’s final match took place at the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park.

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About the Contributor
Luka Bassnett, Reporter

Luka Bassnett is a sophomore at Clayton High School, and is a reporter for the Globe. A first year member of the Globe staff, Luka joined the newspaper in order to have a better...

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Robohounds Return from World Championships