Reynoldsburg High School’s robotics team gearing up for regional contests

When Reynoldsburg High School junior Alex McIntyre isn’t in class Tuesdays through Thursdays and on Saturdays, he’s in a workshop at the district’s Summit Road campus writing computer code.

As the software lead for the district’s FIRST Robotics team, Technical Difficulties, McIntyre said he programs whatever the team needs its robot to be doing when FIRST Robotics competition begins in March.

“(In software) we generally tell the robot how to drive, depending on how we move the joysticks,” he said. “We program it to move autonomously on its own. Generally, all the things that make the robot actually function whenever we push a button, that’s what we make it do. ”

Juniors Prawin Parajuli (left) and David Greene measure an electrical board to cut to fit onto the chassis of the team's competition robot.  Parajuli is the team's electrical lead.

McIntyre is one of 37 students on the Technical Difficulties team, which is in the midst of constructing its robot.

The team will compete at regional competitions March 16-19 at the California University of Pennsylvania from and March 23-26 at the Cleveland State Wolstein Center, attempting to advance to the FIRST Robotics world championship at the University of Houston on April 20-23.

“It’s truly a student-driven team,” said Nadine Phillips, who teaches engineering at Reynoldsburg High School’s Livingston Avenue campus and is one of the group’s coaches. “They decide what we’re going to focus on.”

Freshman Zachary Taylor (left) and sophomore Isaiah Nire work on a portion of the Technical Difficulties team's robot.

FIRST Robotics is an international competition comprising thousands of teams of high school students worldwide.

During competition, each team fields a robot that is capable of executing both remote-controlled and autonomous tasks: shooting an oversized tennis ball into a hub for points or climbing a hangar-type structure akin to monkey bars, according to a FIRST Robotics YouTube video that describes the competition.

But before the students compete, they have to build a robot.

There are multiple team subdivisions that work in conjunction to accomplish this. Senior Madison Gysan oversees the process as the team’s chief project manager.

“I have to make sure everyone’s on a set time,” she said. “And that everyone understands what the timeline is and when we’re ready to have it done by.

Mechanical mentor Jim Greene helps students with the construction of their competition robot Feb.  8.

“And if there’s any issues that come up, I’ll make sure the other teams know what the issues are so they can prepare each other for any issues that may appear.”

Gysan, who has also served as the team’s “build lead” the past two years, said one of her main responsibilities is ensuring proper communication amongst members and in particular to make sure the team’s leads are up to speed on the tasks at hand for the day.

Leave a Comment