Recently, the West Ashley High School Robotics Team, also known as W.A.R.P. Drive, competed in the Viking Hammer Qualifier and the College Park / Cane Bay Regional Qualifier where they continued their winning streak. West Ashley High’s robotics team has not lost a local competition within the last 18 months. Not only did they come in first place at both qualifiers, they also earned awards for their teamwork and overall attitude during each of the competitions.
On November 12, W.A.R.P. Drive competed in the Viking Hammer Qualifier at Spring Valley High School. Along with West Ashley High’s four robotics teams, groups from Royal Live Oaks Academy, Aiken High, Spring Valley High, Dutch Fork High, Pickens Country Career and Tech Center, Indian Land High, Palmetto Scholars Academy, and Clinton High competed in the tournament. West Ashley High’s robot W.A.R.P. Drive 9623B ending up taking home the Excellence Award and was part of a three-team alliance, which included Team Legend Robotics and the Augusta Homeschoolers, who were named the Tournament Champs.
All four of West Ashley High School’s robots, W.A.R.P. Drive 9623A, 9623B, 9623C, and 9623D, competed next at the College Park / Cane Bay Regional Qualifier in Ladson on December 10th. Two of West Ashley High’s robotics teams, W.A.R.P. Drive 9623B and 9623C, were part of a three-team alliance which won the tournament. Bluffton High was the third team in that alliance. Other teams involved in the competition were from Spring Valley High, Goose Creek High, Bluffton High, and Royal Live Oaks Academy Charter School. 30 teams competed in this year’s College Park / Cane Bay Regional Qualifier. This competition did more than just earn West Ashley High another first place trophy. It earned the team tickets to the SC State Championship and the CREATE VRC National Championship in Council Bluffs, Iowa. They also won the Excellence Award, the Design Award, the Programming Skills Competition, the Driver Skills Competition, and was the Robot Skills Winner.
West Ashley High’s Robotics Team meets each week on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30pm – 6:00pm to prepare for their next competition. They use this time to continue to improve their robots and fix any issues that may have occurred during a recent competition. This year, West Ashley High Robotics Coach Nicholas Holmes is especially proud of the coding that has been created which controls the team’s robots.
This is some of the most advanced coding our program has ever come up with,‖ says Holmes. ―The code re-calibrates our motors every 50 milliseconds to make sure they are doing precisely what we want them todo. Even if an outside force acts on our robot, gyroscopes, accelerometers, encoders, and sonar sensors will reposition the robot so that it will continue to complete the required task without fail. No other team is doing anything this advanced.
Senior Noah Combs, the driver of West Ashley High’s best robot and the winner of the Excellence Award, was the one who created the code which they use to control all four robots. ―Noah came to me one day, after leaving his AP Computer Science class, and told me that he thought we could use an array set to calibrate the motors,‖ says Holmes.
―Within 30 minutes, Noah had scratched out a basic code that did the job we have been trying to figure out since the beginning of last season. West Ashley High is preparing to host its annual competition, The West Ashley Robotics Regional Qualifier, on Saturday, February 25th in the school’s Main Gym and Cafeteria. The competition will begin at 9am and will conclude with an Awards Ceremony at 5pm. Currently, there are 34 teams from 17 schools signed up to participate in the competition.
Story submitted by Donnie Newton, West Ashley High School Public Relations Coordinator