The Hope High School BotCats Robotics team were on their way to tackling a tough qualifying competition at the Little Rock Regional FIRST Robotics Contest when their hopes were dashed by technical issues.

The Hope High School BotCats Robotics team were on their way to tackling a tough qualifying competition at the Little Rock Regional FIRST Robotics Contest when their hopes were dashed by technical issues.
The March 8-10 competition at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock is a premier robotics qualifier for international competition, this year with 55 teams from the U.S. and Mexico in the mix.
“This year’s competition, or ‘co-opera-tition’, consisted of 92 qualifying rounds in which teams of three robots were pitted against three other team robots to complete a set of challenges,” HHS Robotics Coach Kathy Knight said. “Cooperation and strategy are key; your allies in one round may be your opponents in the next.”
Regardless of the pairings, the contest was a collaborative event, Knight said.
“The Hope High BotCats made it as high as fifth place early in the competition, before experiencing wiring and software issues by the end of the first day of competition; dropping us to 40th place,” Knight said.
That was when the collaboration began to kick in, she said.
“Before the second day of qualifiers began, several teams came to our aide giving not only advice by one-to-one help; and, even donating parts, which enabled us to continue,” Knight said. “We ended the qualifiers with a score of 6-4-0, with an overall place of 28 out of 55.”
She said the greatest lesson for the team at its second FIRST Robotics competition was that the team needs mentors.
“We need men and women who know about programming, drafting, designing, engineering, electrical, mechanical, and general organizational skills, and who are willing to mentor us, and help us grow our team,” Knight said.
Interested individuals should contact Knight at kathy.knight@hpsdistrict.org online, she said.
“Under prescribed guidelines, and using limited resources, teams are given a strict time limit and are challenged to raise funds, design a team ‘brand,’ hone teamwork skills, and build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors,” Knight said of the competition.
HHS teacher Jill Carlson is the co-coach of the team, and Jerry Martin and Val Knight are community mentors, she said.
Team members include Jacqueline Culley, Myra Garcia, Jerry Noble, Bryan Morrison, Hanna McCorkle, Tristant Martin, Kelsey Reedy, Kaitlynn Hooker, Yovana  Martinez, Dalton Hulett, Zoltin Dellosso, Ben Knight, Eric Moratya, and Jacob Gunn.