Robotics Club Shoots for National Competition

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By Thomas Rohn

[youtube]https://youtu.be/pug7eSxQqOI[/youtube]

Video by Darsea Hajdarevic

While Niles West has many clubs and groups that have placed high in competitions, the Robotics/Engineering club is one of the very few that has potential to make it far within the first year of its creation.

Spending as much time as they can on their robots before and after school, the Vex teams strive to build the best machine possible in order to participate in as high of a level of competition as they can.

“We have made it pretty far,” junior Timothy Petroulakis said. “We’ll have to see how we do at state to see if we advance any further.”

Engineering club became Robotics club after the outstanding success of the Niles North Vex Team. Tim Sullivan, the sponsor of the Robotics club, said the club was inspired to start working with vex machines when they heard Niles North made it all the way to nationals after winning state.

“It was a big success for North,” Sullivan explained. “They had a big turnaround this year with it, and it was a huge breakthrough for them. That’s when we realized we have to be doing vex.”

Trying to start on the right foot, the veterans of the club decided at the start of the year the best way to divide up the teams was to make sure each team had both good programmers and good builders, and tried to mix new and experienced members as well.

“The people who have been here for a few years kind of knew each other, but we decided we had to build our groups off our strengths so that we would be able to cover each other’s weaknesses,” Petroulakis added.

Once the teams were set, the members of the club were urged to work their absolute hardest, but also emphasized good sportsmanship.

“If you can get out there and form an alliance with another team going into the finals, you are gonna do so much better,” Sullivan explained. “A lot of that comes from your performance on the field. Not just how well you can perform, but what your sportsmanship is like.”