OIA Robotics Team competing in World Championship for 5th consecutive year

April 26, 2024 | 12:12 am

Updated April 26, 2024 | 12:16 am

Photo by Josh Kelly

Owensboro Innovation Academy’s Event Horizon Robotics team is currently in Dallas, Texas, competing in the VEX Robotics World Championship Tournament for the fifth consecutive year. Members are confident they can compete with the rest of the teams from around the globe.

Seniors William Wilson, Tyler Strobel, Dawson Strobel, and Ben Austin have become the most decorated robotics team in the school’s history, accumulating nine awards at various events this year. OIA’s robotics club won 16 total awards this season.

The game they compete in is largely like soccer for robots. The team needs to place 50 balls into their goal, then their robot must hang from a bar for 30 consecutive seconds. To prepare for the season, the team said they focused on upgrading their robot’s overall speed and grip strength.

Tyler Strobel is the team’s programmer who focuses more on taking it to the next level between competitions.

“We’ve pretty much revamped it from our former robots. Each robot is kind of like Iron Man, where he makes all his new suits to keep fighting whoever they face every single time. So right now, our robot is probably at its peak,” Strobel said.

Wilson noted that as team captain, he’s been able to scope out the competition going into the tournament and said their robot differs from other schools that he’s seen.

“A lot of the other teams are focusing on the hanging part of the game, and we’ve been focusing on scoring the tri-balls,” Wilson said.

The heightened speed makes Wilson feel they can hold their own against the competitors.

Austin, the team’s driver, said he has the fun job. He said playing the competition is always exciting, and the competitive level reminds him of a video game. That’s what’s kept him coming back each year.

“It’s kind of a video game to me; it’s that fun. Then we go through the process of ‘we need this to do something better.’ Now we have six motors, and it can go faster, push more, and do a lot of things better,” Austin said.

The team will be competing in 2v2 games with a randomized opponent until the field is narrowed to 32 teams, when they will start 1v1 matches. The contest will run through Saturday, with a winner crowned that evening.

April 26, 2024 | 12:12 am

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