Students Advance to Robotics World Championship

Charging Champions poses with their robot. (Richard Hetzler)

Contributing Writer
Four students were part of a nine member team which advanced to the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship late last month in St. Louis, MO.  
Named the Charging Champions, Ganesh Kolli (So.), Pallavi Kolli (So.), Rithik Lingineni (So.) and Anish Neervannan (So.), along with five other IUSD students from Rancho San Joaquin, Jeffrey Trail Middle Schools, Northwood High School and Woodbridge High School designed and created a robot capable of completing numerous challenges.
This year’s challenge was overcoming natural disasters. The robot had to rescue ‘trapped victims,’ clear ‘harmful debris’ and climb a ‘mountain to give an all-clear signal.’
Since the challenge was released in early September, the Charging Champions have pulled an average twenty hour work-weekends working on their projects.
For a team to advance to the World Championships, they had to be one of 128 out of over 3,000 teams deemed worthy enough through the multiple rounds of competition. The Charging Champions were ranked 17th in Western United States and were the only team from Orange County to compete in St. Louis this year.
This year the robotics club has started outreach, moving outside the UHS classrooms and bringing their passion to surrounding neighborhoods.
“Previously, our team was only focused on building the robot. But with the addition of team members, the team added CAD, fundraising, as well as community outreach.” Kolli said. “For example, we reached out to University Park Elementary School, and they were even inspired to form their own robotics team next year!”
“Robotics is not just about the engineering. For our team to have been successful this year, we needed creative designers, diligent fundraisers, personable outreachers and clear communicators. Without any of these components, we would not have advanced to the world championships. Don’t be scared to join,” Kolli said.