This may be the first year of competition for the HMS CougarBots team at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) level. Still, this group of 6th and 7th graders comes with plenty of experience in the First Lego League Robotics competition, including a trip to state. Team members include Nahom Berhe, Andrew Bitsko, Jake Grant, Graham Hege, Sam Hershner, Emory Kennett, Logan Kokoth, Darby Marsh, Caeli Mistretta, Nathan Mowinski and Will Petrich. The team's coach is Wes Hunter.
CougarBot team members have to design, build, program and operate a robot to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is Android-based, and it is programmed using Java, the MIT App Inventor, or other Android programming systems. The HMS team meets weekly to work on their robots and competes in league play every other Saturday primarily against high school teams. The goal of league play is to collect points to qualify for the League Tournament and hopefully move on to state and nationals.
This season's FTC competition is called "Skystone" and challenges teams to build and operate a robot that can collect and stack interlocking stones on a foundation to build a skyscraper. Teams are awarded points for a variety of tasks completed by controlling the robot with a game controller, as well as tasks completed through autonomous programming.