Robotics Club Dominates

New Botball Club, Otherwise Known as Robotics Club, Commands Maps for Local and National Botball Competitions

Alex Reynolds, Staff Writer

In only their second year of existence, the RHS Robotics Club, also known as Botball, has established themselves as one of the most successful clubs in the school.

Botball is a club at here at Rockville, where students program automated robots to compete in different customized maps. Botball requires precision in programming and expert mechanics to design and run the robots.

The robotics club was established in 2016. In April of last year, the team won second place out of 30 teams in the DMV Regional Tournament. Then at the Global Conference on Educational Robotics (GCER) in July of 2016, they placed 16th out of over 60 teams.

Some of the team’s early successes can be attributed to their youth as a program and their willingness to take risks that the veteran teams might not attempt.

“We tend to think outside the box because we’ve been doing this for less years,” junior Jet Lee said. “Other teams aren’t willing to try out crazy claw designs like we are.”

Despite the team’s youth last year, they also had advantages such as some experienced leaders who helped the team reach national recognition. The club was started by former technology teacher Chuchrun Tsai, who had experience from leading his Botball team at his old school.

Senior James Da��Souza is the lead programmer on the team and has been a captain for the team since it was created.

“[First year] it was really nice we had a club sponsor that knew the competition [Tsai]. It was nice to have that jumpstart, we learned a lot from him,” Da��Souza said.

The team doubled its members this year as their reputation began to rise. The team went from having 6 members in 2016 to 12 this year, gaining much needed experience as they went.

However, with the departure of Tsai, technology teacher Jennifer Forrest has taken over as the new Botball sponsor. However the club, which is heavily student driven from everything from the building to the programming was able to transition well to the new sponsor.

“This year I am a first time sponsor and it has been a great experience working with the students. They are very self motivated, hardworking, and eager to do well.” Forrest said.

The team placed 5th in this year’s DMV Regional Tournament,which, for the team’s standards, was a drop off. Jones said that the competition was much higher this year compared to last. Only time will tell what more successes the young team will garner as they and the sport of of Botball grows.