Robotics team prepares for competition

Robotics teams in Trumbull and Mahoning counties spent this past weekend finalizing their robots for regional competitions starting in March.

Teams had a midnight deadline Tuesday to have their robots completed and shipped.

In Trumbull County, teams from Girard, Champion and Warren G. Harding and in Mahoning County, teams from Austintown, Canfield and Mooney were finishing their robots following six weeks of building, often after school, on holidays and on weekends since early January. They also used the many snow calamity days to work on the robots.

Judy Barber, adviser for the Girard Robotics Robocats Team, said “It’s all about inspiring students to go into those fields, pairing them up with real life mentors and showing them what fun science can be and technology,”

Girard is preparing for regional events March 13 -15 in Troy, N.Y., and then March 20 and 22 in Cleveland.

In 2013, the Girard team had their best season of 15 years winning to regional events and making it to the world championships in St. Louis. Girard was one of 16 teams out of 3,000 nationwide to win two regionals teams.

There is a Night at the Races fundraiser Feb. 22 at the Knights of Columbus in Girard to help raise funds for the team.

Depending on how well a team does at the regionals determines how they advance to the nationals.

Joseph Jeswald, retired superintendent and adviser, said the robots take a large size ball over obstacles and then score points by getting the ball in a goal over different heights.

Barber said Girard is mentoring Mooney High School’s team this year which is a first-year team.

“We practiced with the other teams and show what the robots can do,” she said.

Jalene McClendon, a senior Girard Robotics Build Team member, said the task for the robot seems like a lot of fun.

“We have been working hard to get it ready. When we did our planning we had the robot practice lifting and throwing the big exercise balls,’ she said.

Nick Walker, a sophomore, said this year’s task is more difficult than last year

“Last year seemed a little more simpler. There is a lot more going on this year, ” he said.

McClendon said this year the team is ahead of schedule instead of working up to the very end.

“We are in good shape for competition,” she said.

A memorial plaque is being prepared for Emil David, a Girard team mentor, who died in 2013. An Emil David Memorial Scholarship is also planned in his memory.

David was a founding member for First Robotics Team 379.