THE DALLES — On Saturday, The Dalles High School robotics students compete in new territory, on several levels.

With COVID and the 2020 game theme “Change Up,” the program has flexed like never before.

“This year of robotics has been nothing like we have ever experienced. It is very interesting and somewhat fun to do things differently than before with new distancing policies.

“This circumstance is making us adapt and explore different strategies that we would have never come up with before. It is a great learning experience,” said TDHS senior and team captain Keon Kiser.

Similarly, the tournament will look very different due to COVID restrictions. Said tournament organizer and 4-H instructor Lu Seapy, “Teams will have a field set against them that they need to clear and then fill with their alliance color. They will be racing against the clock.” One team will be competing on the field at a time.

Teams can also record their stop time with this game, adding another level of difficulty. The shorter time needed to complete the task, the higher the team will rank. Seapy said the competitive robotics season has looked very different this year due to COVID.

Each team member has their own tool kit. Students work from home and schedule times to practice driving their robot on the competition field.

“Despite all the challenge this year has presented, students are still enjoying being part of a robotics program, masks and all,” said coach and 4-H educator Dale Hammack.

Recommended for you