UPHS Robotics captures top prize at competition

On November 13, the University Preparatory High School (UPHS) robotics team, Arborbotics, traveled to Madera for a two-day robotics competition. The team is part of the FIRST Robotics Competition created by For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), an international youth organization that also created FIRST LEGO League Challenge and other competitions. The Arborbotics team is entering its seventh season of competition and is led by UPHS senior Charvi Reddy, a 2021 FIRST Dean’s List finalist.

The event was entitled MadTown Throwdown, an off-season competition that this year attracted teams from 17 high schools from around the state. The teams entered 25 robots. In attendance were several teams that have held world champion titles. UPHS math teacher Josh Curtiss, the team’s advisor, reports that the Throwdown was not held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPHS Arborbotics robot during competition In typical years, teams are given a competition scenario several months in advance and must design a robot to execute the task given. For the MadTown Throwdown, bots were challenged to scoop up balls in an arena and launch them through various holes around the perimeter of the course. The holes were at various heights and earned teams points depending on the difficulty of the shot.

As the competition advances, top qualifying teams are required to form alliances with two others. The top two teams – one from Atascadero and the other from Davis – formed an alliance and invited the Arborbotics to join. Together, their alliance won first place in the MidTown Throwdown.

“While the victory was great, our students also learned valuable 21st century skills, navigating the ups and downs of tournament play, trouble-shooting problems, strategizing, and cooperating with one another and with other teams,” Curtiss said.

On March 30, Arborbotics will compete in a FIRST Robotics regional event. If the team is successful at the regionals, it will qualify to compete in the world championship this year in Texas. The team will begin building its robot to address the regional competition scenario on January 8.

For more information on the UPHS Arborbotics team and ways you can support it, contact Josh Curtiss at [email protected].

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