CHAOS to compete in Houston

Published 12:33 am Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pearl River County’s robotics team did not win the Bayou Regional competition, held for the first time in New Orleans, but they will test their skills again at the regional competition in Houston, Texas.

Team CHAOS leader Maureen Pollitz said normally the team only competes in one regional competition a year but an exception was made this year.

While team CHAOS did not come in first place at the Bayou Regional competition, they did win the Motorola Quality Award and a Safety Recognition award, Pollitz said.

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The Motorola Quality Award was issued due to the durability and concept of fabrication that the various judges observed during the competition, she said. After the judges talked to the students, they observed the student knowledge of the robot and how well built the machine was. The safety award is issued to those teams who display a conscious knowledge of safety precautions.

By the end of the first day of the Bayou Regional competition the team was in first place, but by the end of the second and last day the team had slipped to fifth place. The team will have another chance at the Lone Star Regional competition in Houston. This will be the first, and probably the last, year team CHAOS competes in two regional competitions. Pollitz said the reason they are competing in two regional competitions is because there are a number of graduating seniors on the team who began their robotics team tours at the Lone Star regional competition and they would like to end it there.

In addition, this was the first year New Orleans hosted a regional competition, prompting the team to participate in the local venue. Now that New Orleans plans to host the Bayou Regional competition yearly, the plan is to attend that regional competition every year, Pollitz said.

During the Bayou Regional, team CHAOS dropped a few places due to focusing on things other than the competition, CHAOS member Ian Ladner said. Three lost matches knocked them down from first place to fifth place so their alliance was not as strong as they would have liked when they got to the semi-finals, Ladner said.

The alliance process works out so teams with higher rankings get first pick when it comes time to form them. When team CHAOS had their turn to pick, they were paired with alliance members who did not fulfill their promises, Don Pollitz said.

Don Pollitz said due to this experience they will be looking for alliance members who can deliver stiff competition in Houston. During the Bayou Regional competition the team found their robot was not a very good defensive robot since the six wheel drive does not have the necessary power and weight behind it. They were forced to play defense, however, since their alliance members were not well suited for it.

Another problem the team had was the inability, or unwillingness, of their alliance members to try to park robots on team CHAOS’ robot, which scores a large number of extra points at the end of each match, Ladner said.

Don Pollitz said that problem came in two parts. First, there were to those who had rubber bumpers on their robot keeping them from getting up the ramp, and second, there were those who would not attempt the feat.

“Mostly they didn’t want to try it,” Don Pollitz said.

The team will leave for the Lone Star Regional March 28 at about 7 a.m. There they will begin anew and look to form a new alliance near the end of the competition, hopefully with teams who will be willing to do what it takes to win.

“We’re ready to go to Houston and win,” said team member Matt Sheffield.