Portales robotics team tops state competition

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

The Portales High School robotics team took first place Wednesday at the Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement competition in Albuquerque.

Portales has been competing in robotics for three years, with some success.

Last month the team finished in second place in robotics in the MESA regional. Robotics teacher Jack Willis said the program is about having fun, and these guys have a lot of fun in robotics.

“They’re a good team, when they get serious about it,” Willis said. “They were programing on the fly, while we were there. They had a couple of glitches right as they were beginning the meet.”

The team had to program a LEGO robot around a track and up a hill to deliver a payload of weights into a bin. For every action by the robot, they earned points.

William Van Dam said the team was excited about winning a backpack with software along with first place ribbons.

“Since Microsoft sponsored this they gave us Microsoft Office software,” Robot designer Tanner Ainsworth said. “As well, office software for a Mac.”

Portales is heading to Albuquerque to compete in Robo Robotics Are Very Educational (RAVE), another competition Saturday.

Winners:

First Place — Portales

Second Place Las Vegas — Robertson

Third Place — Goddard