Steel Tigers attend robotics competition

Sarah Shay, Entertainment Editor

For months, a group of around 35 Joliet West and Central students have worked together tirelessly to accomplish something impressive: a complex robot which can serve in multiple competitions against dozens of other teams.
Much of the school year is in an off-season, but the Steel Tigers robotics team still spent that time practicing their techniques, and preparing for the intensive 3-month period of building, which begins in January.

Team member and junior at Joliet West Austin Brown noted, “it can feel like a time crunch a lot of the time, but we have a good amount of super dedicated members who truly just love working on this stuff, which most times includes their free time as well.”

The large group is separated into public relations, programming, and build teams who work together to bring the robot from concept to competition.

During the first semester of school, members work on learning code, upgrading software, and general preparation as well as drumming up community interest.

The real competition begins with a kick-off day. At that point, the first week of the year, team members eagerly wait to hear exactly what their challenge will be for the season. This year the ‘game’ included upper and lower hubs with hoops into which the robot must launch balls in order to score points, as well as a hangar with rungs the robot can climb, with greater heights earning more points.

There were 2 major competitions, one at Bradley University with 38 teams, and one at University of Illinois Chicago with 47 teams. The Steel Tigers emerged from each with a strong sense of accomplishment and much gained experience, especially since many members were brand new this school year.

Senior programmer Matthew Papesh stated regarding the team, “I love the Steel Tigers robotics team, and it’s by far one of the most influential organizations to offer at Joliet West and Central, and we have the momentum to continue the next couple years thanks to our student driven team.”

Overall, the Steel Tigers are part of a surprisingly underrated group which deserve all of the interest and enthusiasm JTHS students can provide to them.

They are always welcoming new members, so anybody interested in joining the team or learning more should contact Mr. Zwartz.