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Wentzville School District Robotics Team to compete at Nationals in April

WSD Robotics Team

The Wentzville School District Ratchet Rockers Robotics Team 1706 placed second among the finalists in the FIRST St. Louis Regional Competition at Chaifetz Arena March 8-10.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an innovative program that encourages young people to pursue STEM education and career opportunities. Each year, First Robotics Competition (FRC) teams participate in a six-week build season that leads them to compete at regional, state, and world competitions.

At the St. Louis Regional Competition, the Ratchet Rockers competed in a pool of 49 teams from four states and earned a ranking of 4th after qualifying matches. The Ratchet Rockers competed in quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals with the 2nd seed alliance partners, Team 1178 (DeSmet Ultimate Robotics Team) and Team 2978 (Cavaliers from Bishop DuBourg High School), earning a wild card opportunity as a member of the finalist alliance to attend the World Championship competition in Houston, Texas April 19-21.

“I have learned how energized and community-oriented the events are,” said first-year team member Aadi Kadam from Liberty High School. “It’s very exciting and important to support everyone here. I can’t wait for the next competition.”

The Ratchet Rockers designed a highly-competitive robot this year with unique features to meet the demands of the video-game-themed competition. The robot has custom-made swerve modules (motorized wheels) which gives the robot advanced mobility and speed. Another distinctive feature includes two heavy duty platforms that drop to lift two additional robots using a winch capable of lifting over 600 lbs. The control software (coding) was written for the robot to complete tasks like lifting and placing game cubes in targeted areas without a driver controlling the robot. Each aspect of the game is addressed with the specialized features of the team’s robot design.

Throughout the build season, as well as the competition, the team worked tirelessly and continuously to improve the robot’s function.

“It’s awesome to be a part of this team and to see the students’ excitement, as well as how involved they become in the process,” said Team Mentor Dr. Narelle Deatherage. “Everyone works together so well to achieve a common goal.”

The Ratchet Rockers Team 1706 is made up of about 50 students from all three WSD high schools: Holt, Liberty and Timberland. The team competes next at the FIRST Midwest Regional Qualifier in Chicago, IL April 5-7, followed by the World Championship in Houston, April 19-21.

To learn more about the WSD Ratchet Rockers Team or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit their website, or follow the team on Twitter @FRC1706 and Facebook.

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