By Connor Beach
It’s getting down to crunch time for Huntington High School Robotics Team 5016, but the team is feeling cautiously optimistic ahead of their final build day less than two weeks away.
“We are feeling confident; last year we were only starting to build at this time, so it’s kind of amazing that this year we are finishing up at this time,” chief technology officer and senior John Riley said.
The team’s senior vice-captain Matt Wildermuth attributed the progress to the four years of experience that many of the team’s seniors bring into this year’s build season, which began a month ago.
“I think that’s a testament to what we’ve learned, the experience factor, taking what we learned last year and improving on it,” Wildermuth said. “We try to pass down all our knowledge throughout the team so that people always know what can be improved on next.
Huntington Robotics is looking to build on their recent successes; the team reached the world championship each of the last two years.
Those successes have helped the robotics club grow to one of the most popular in the school, with between 60-70 students signed up. The popularity is evident when visiting the team’s lab where students are constructing the robot for this year’s competition season, programing the robot to function autonomously and writing applications for awards.
“We have at least 40 people here every day, and we have a five to two male to female ratio,” said Lindsay Saginaw, a senior and head of business operations. She added the team is working on a diversity initiative that includes translating instructions into Spanish.
In addition to constructing an extremely complex robot for the upcoming competition season, team captain and senior Timothy Low said community outreach and increasing interest in science, technology, engineering and math are also important for the team’s continued success.
“When the team first started we basically had no robotics programs in the district,” Low said. “Now, five years later, we have robotics from grade five all the way to senior year of high school.
Team 5016 is looking forward to testing out their new ideas and new robot at two upcoming regional competitions: the Hudson Valley competition in upstate Suffern at the end of March and the Long Island Regional Competition in the second week of April.