Hailstorm228
Members of Hailstorm228, one of AHS’s three robotics teams, work with their robot in preparation for Saturday’s States. (Courtesy Photo)

All three of Andover High’s robotics teams will participate in a statewide championship on Saturday, March 3.

Hailstorm, the school’s all-girls team, just missed earning a spot at States through competition but learned recently that a team scheduled to appear had to decline the invitation. Hailstrom will take that spot.

Additionally, Andover High earned two spots at States because on January 27 and 28, the school’s three robotics teams–Thunder, Lighting, and Hailstorm–hosted all-day preliminary competitions in the field house. A school may send one team to the state competition for each competition it hosts.

The AHS teams have been hard at work since the beginning of the school year, building and operating robots for competitions.

This was the first time that Andover hosted back-to-back competitions.

The January competition days each started off with the robot examination, where the judges interviewed the teams about their robots and did a physical inspection of the robots. Then, there was a morning ceremony with an introduction for the panel of judges, a review of the rules, and the singing of the the National Anthem.

During matches, two robots compete against two other robots simultaneously. All the robots are from different teams. At the AHS-hosted competitions, there was a total of 19 teams from local schools like Waltham and North Dartmouth.

Ms. Reidy, the advisor for the robotics teams, and Allison Care, AHS junior, were the coordinators for the event.

Care said, “We are not like battle bots; we don’t destroy robots.”

During the match, the robots are battling against each other, but the goal is to gain more points by reading a color sensor to displace a ball of a certain color, collecting and stacking blocks in a designated space, and maneuvering a small yellow totem to location just beyond the field of play. An alliance partner in one match could be a opponent in another match.

Reidy and Care put much time into producing this event but wanted to acknowledge others who helped make it a success. “The athletic directors and the custodians are outstanding and they are very gracious about it,” Reidy said, “and the cafeteria ladies are a huge help. It takes everyone pitching in and the amount of support from everyone at the school is astonishing.” The administration was also supportive, reserving the fieldhouse for the two days. Mr. Darlington and Ms. Brown opened up the ceremonies.

By Katie Nam