UIL Robotics State bound

Team makes comeback, places second at Regional Competition


Madison Mata, Managing Editor

After scoring five zeros in a row, state qualification seemed highly unlikely for the robotics team; however, they kept competing, made it past the wildcard round to the semifinals and placed second during the final round to secure a spot at state.

Along with their second place title, the team was awarded best overall Robot Design and the Most Robust Robot.

“We went in thinking we were going to win, then halfway through the competition, we thought we were going to get dead last,” senior Anthony Limon said. “You remember the Super Bowl when the Patriots were down 28-3 and came back to win? That’s how it was.”

Junior Kyle Simpkins drove the robot first and earned the team 200 points. After that the team could hardly score above a zero.

“I try to teach perseverance, and there’s always going to be obstacles,” Robotics Coach James Wilcox said. “You will get knocked down and beat, but it’s how you get back up that matters. You know it’s going to happen so it’s how you deal with it.”

Placing 21 in the first round was just enough to get the team into the wildcard round where senior Isaiah Oropeza drove the robot.

“I knew that we had a chance and that we had to capitalize on it or else we would be eliminated,” Oropeza said. “The weight of the whole team rested on my shoulders during the wildcard round because I was up next to drive the robot. I was really nervous.”

Once they won the wildcard round, they continued into the semifinals to compete against fifteen other teams.

“After advancing to the semifinals, the excitement was overwhelming,” Oropeza said. “The entire team was on fire from that point on.” 

The team placed third during semifinals while beating magnet schools that focus on robotics year round and advancing to the finals.

“We have different people with different skills and they also have a higher motivation because they were on the team last year,” Mr. Wilcox said. “We try to instill a desire to always improve so that’s what they’ve been doing. They kept it together and they figured out what they needed to do and started doing that very well throughout the matches, so we were able to score enough points to go into the wildcard and just took off.”

In the finals, the team competed in three matches against four other teams and took second place in the region to qualify for state.

“I don’t know how else to describe the way I was feeling when we found out we were advancing to state besides pure joy,” Mr. Wilcox said. “To see what you’ve taught actually work, and to know that the way that you’re teaching it is actually working because you see them improve brings me pure joy.”