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Building the Way to Victory

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Cleveland.com

On Friday, November 17, the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Robotics Club will be hosting a competition for the middle school teams, and the following day on November 18, there will be one for the high school teams. Both events are free and welcome spectators to come observe the efforts of the teams. About 61 teams from both in and out of state shall be present. It will be hosted at the school.

Last year, 8 teams were sent off to Dallas, Texas for the world championships.  Coach Craig Kowatch recalls, “that was the most of any organization; we’re pretty proud of that.” He believes that some teams have goals of returning to ‘worlds’, and they are well on their way back there. Kowach also says that some of the freshman teams are making great progress too.   He backs this up by saying, “ The difference between our first competition and second was light years; they improved a ton.” One of the reasons for this improvement is because the teams all help each other work, no matter their own individual levels.

“My passion for creativity” is what senior Gino Bommarito says got him into Robotics.

“I found it interesting,” says Calix Zukauckas, senior, after hearing about the group through friends during middle school. 

Each organization within the world of Robotics is given a number says Kowatch, retelling the story of how BBH robotics team got their number. The first team was formed in 2011 out of a CAD class, and so that was the number he chose to represent them. The number is significant to them, even though some people occasionally mistake the number for a date. “In robotics, you’re known more for your number and not so much where you live. People probably don’t know we are from Brecksville-Broadview Heights, but they know 2011,” states Kowatch. 

There are many roles within robotics:  there are drivers, builders, coders, scouters, and notebookers. Drivers drive the robots, and builders construct and design them. Coders program to ensure the robots are drivable, along with making sure the bot is good with and without the driver. Both seniors are coders, while Zukauckas also works as a notebooker. Notebookers document the entire process from the very beginning to the end, along with helping communication throughout the team. Finally, scouters go around and interview other teams, to find potential allies and discover opponents capabilities. 

Currently, the teams are working on robots fit for a certain game. “Over under is the game,” says Kowatch.

Zukauckas provides a bit more description of the game, which isn’t too different from soccer.  He says, The robots try to put game elements, called triballs, into their alliance’s goals, which are colored either red or blue. There is also the chance of setting off a “matchload, which gets more triballs into play, allowing for scores to be higher.” 

Builder Nathan Rakestraw, sophomore, briefly details his team’s work.  He says, “Right now we’re building a catapult to shoot triballs across the field to score points.” 

There are no tryouts for robotics, no real requirements to meet. All Kowatch and the rest of the current members ask is that new members be vocal about their dedication level to the team. Kowatch encourages members to partake in other extracurricular activities.  He says, “We work around schedules and are willing to work with schedules.” He adds, “As long as they’re honest with their team and their dedication level, they’re accepting of them.”

There is no doubt there is a rich culture built around trust and communication. “Is it too late? No, there are some teams that can use a few members here and there,” assures Kowatch.

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About the Contributor
Haydyn Kirby, Staff Writer
Haydyn Kirby is a Senior at BBH High School, this is her first year in the Hybreeze. She is also a member of the marching bees Flagline, as well as the hockey and bowling teams. Haydyn is a part of the NHS and has been partaking in creative writing for seven years. She is excited to join the Hybreeze staff and bring interesting stories to the BBH community.

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