Hundreds of high school students compete at Cal Poly robotics tournament

Some 200 students from 21 California high schools competed Saturday in a robotics tournament hosted by Cal Poly’s Society of Women Engineers.

The California Central Coast VEX “In the Zone” Tournament challenged each of the 48 teams to build a robot that could maneuver around a 12-by-12-foot field to pick up and move cones into scoring areas.

A dozen local teams competed in the event, including the two-time world champion Greybots from Atascadero High School as well as teams from Central Coast New Tech High, Mission Prep and San Luis Obispo, Nipomo and Paso Robles high school.

Participants competed in head-to-head in matches that involve technical design, computer coding, skillful driving, teamwork and strategy.

The team from Mission Prep advanced through the competition to win its final-round heat, receiving a bid to the state finals with the victory. The other teams to receive state final bids by winning final heats were Dublin Robotics and California Academy of Mathematics and Science. Centennial High from Bakersfield also won a bid by receiving the Excellence Award.

Teams from SLO High, Nipomo High and Central Coast New Tech High all advanced to the final round but were defeated.

“Teams compete against the clock and each other,” said Cassidy Elwell, SWE’s Robotics Chair. “Each match features four robots from four different teams that are randomly placed together. Teams form two alliances that compete against each other to try and win the match.”

Saturday’s event was a qualifier for the state finals in March, with the best alliance advancing to the state finals.

Joe Tarica: 805-781-7911, @joetarica

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