World class robo kids set sights on further wins


Photo By Connor heffernan

The Marin Robotics Team 2456 meets every Friday 2-7:30 p.m. and Sundays 1-6 p.m. in Room 408.

Connor Heffernan, Online Editor

It’s a nerd’s paradise. Marin Robotics Team 2456 has seen great success this spring, attending the VEX World Championship in Nashville.

“Worlds was awesome,” said team member Nick Maley, who attends Marin Academy.

The team includes students from here, The Marin School, Redwood, and Tamalpais high schools.
Students from here who are part of the team include senior Connor Chambers, and juniors Cyrus Haag and Zac Farnkof.

Adviser Jim Davis has helped the team grow since last year. He found the team practicing only once a week and going to a single tournament during the year. He expanded the practice times and trained the team after attending the FIRST competition in the past.

“Teams [in FIRST] showed up sponsored by NASA and Apple. It became a competition of wallets,” Davis said.

The current tournament organization, VEX, has more regulations for the robots, meaning that every team uses the same type of frames and most machine parts. This means that the wealthy teams sponsored by large corporations had the same restrictions as everyone else.

“Then we found VEX. The technologist would be celebrated, VEX is the equalizer,” Davis said.

Team captain Haag, a junior, led the team during the tournaments and in one instance stayed until 9 p.m. the night before a tournament, programming and fixing the robot’s code. This was key to the team winning regionals.

Approximately 10,000 students from 60 different countries attended the VEX World Championship, located in Nashville. In the final round, 30,000 people watched from the stadium. The robots don’t crash into each other but instead compete for points in each round; China and Canada came in first and second respectively.

The robotics team won three trophies in the categories of sportsmanship, excellence, and regional champions. Despite these achievements, Team 2456 had humble beginnings. They won regionals, came in the top four in state, and placed 96th in the World Championship.

Meeting weekly over the summer, the team grew and continued to develop their robots. The team consists of a diverse set of students, who don’t all go to the school. They use this diversity to their strength, dividing the work between programming, the frame of the robot, concepts of the robot, and whatever the team captains will delegate.

“As an engineer you build your robot, you test it, and then you look at what is going wrong and you solve it. Then you repeat the process,” Davis said.

After doing so well this year, the team plans on expanding and doing even better next year.
In the 2019-20 school year, potentially there may be a robotics class taught by White Hill engineering teacher Nate McDonald to teach robotic concepts.

“Now is the best time to join. We are just beginning the new season and anyone who joins will be in the ground floor of the development of the team.

“It also helps with college applications, especially the concept of going to the world championship of robotics,” adviser Jim Murphy said.