Marian’s newly renovated robotics team had their first competiton on Nov. 9. Marian’s robotics team has been around for the past 10 years with Dr. Sharon Genoways as their moderator, but the team switched to a whole new type of competition this year.
“This year, thanks to generous funding, the robotics team now competes in FTC competitions. FTC stands for First Tech Challenge,” Genoways said. FTC is a type of robotics competition where the competitors can use any materials from zip ties to 3D printed objects. “We used to compete in VEX, a type of robotics that comes with a specific kit, competitions, which had much more constraints when it came to materials,’’ Genoways said.
The competition on Nov. 9 had a scoring technique different to what other types of teams are used to. “With this competition, it was preliminary. This means that the points add up continuously. The more competitions we go to, the more points we can rack up,” team member senior Delaney Baumberger said.
Baumberger and sophomore Jada Williams are known on the team for their impressive coding skills. “Both girls [Baumberger and Williams] are the main coders for our team. They’re very organized and outstanding when it comes to robotics,” Genoways said. Other members, such as senior Mint Suthamma and senior Kelly Williams, are known for their building techniques. “Mint and Kelly, especially, are our go-to builders. Even if there’s troubles such as a wacky robot hand, they always know how to solve the problem,” Genoways said.
The team meets almost every day before and after school. “Sometimes I’ll come as early as 6:45 a.m. or stay as late as 5 p.m.,” Suthamma said. The girls each have their own little aspects of robotics that they love the most.
“I really like the programming aspect of robotics. We, as a team, put in all this hard work to make sure everything is working right. It always pays off in the end,” Williams said.
All of the girls are excited to go to more competitions. Their upcoming competitions are in cities all across Nebraska and Iowa. “The best thing about competitions is that they’re different from anything the girls are used to. One day you could be competing against a team, the next day you’re competing with them,” Genoways said.
With the new funding and innovations each girl brings to the table, Marian’s robotics team is “the best team yet,” Genoways said.
Adviser Note: This photo of the team was added after this story originally posted.