The Episcopal School of Dallas Robotics Team received first place at the Regional Botball Tournament in Norman, Oklahoma for the second consecutive year. More than 50 teams from Texas and Oklahoma were featured in the competition held on March 15 during Spring Break. In a highly contested battle, ESD won by .002 of a point.
Coached by Deb Goudy, Chair of ESD’s Computer Science Department, and Jerone Mitchell, a first-year Computer Science teacher at ESD, the team received first place overall and in the seeding rounds. The team also finished in a three-way tie for first place in the documentation round, and fourth place in the double-elimination rounds.
“There is a Texas regional tournament, but we come to Oklahoma’s because it’s the best one,” Goudy said in an interview with The Oklahoman. “It’s well organized and has the toughest competitors. We tell our kids if you want to be the best you have to compete with the best.”
Botball team members at the event included: Oscar Bautista ’15, Renner Brown ’15, Paul Cahoon ’15, Byars Crowe ’17, Alexander Eggers ’15, Grant Hemingway ’17, Liam Herrick ’15, Tommy Hessel ’17, Evan Marshall ’16, Natalie Monger ’15, Armon Naeini ’15, Brett Neurohr ’15, Pedro Rivera ’16, Bennett Sessa ’16, Matthew Sims ’17, Isaac Swift ’17, Kohl Swift ’16, and Christian Viracola ’17. Junior Roger Wong and freshman Sam Carrell are also members of ESD’s Robotics Team, but were unable to attend the competition.
The tournament, now in its 17th year, gives middle and high school teams approximately three months to design and program their robots to meet a variety of specifications. ESD’s robot was built from a modified Roomba vacuum and was required to perform all tasks autonomously, meaning the robot had to “think” through the challenges based on programming students coded in the days and weeks leading up to the challenge.
The team will travel to California in July to compete in the International Botball Tournament and Global Conference on Educational Robotics at the University of Southern California.