ACME, ARES robotics teams advance to NorCal Championship |

ACME, ARES robotics teams advance to NorCal Championship

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

Every practice begins with a meeting. Tuesday was no exception.

The ARES and ACME robotics teams circled to discuss their plans for the day, what they were trying to improve and how best to prepare for the upcoming tournament.

ARES members discussed the need to install a grabber on their robot. ACME members said they needed to work on their robot’s software.

But despite the routine, this practice carried a bit more meaning. That’s because both teams are headed to the NorCal Championship in San Jose this weekend — the first time two robotics teams will represent Nevada County.

“(The season) has been going pretty well for us,” said ARES Robotics team member and Ghidotti sophomore Sean Giomi.

The ARES team is only 2 years old. It began last season with the help of ACME members who wanted to expand student interest in robotics. While the team consists of members between grades eight and 10, the group was formed based on friendships and bonds, not by age. Both teams have students from a wide range of Nevada County schools.

Giomi said this year the ARES Robotics team has achieved success, even beating ACME Robotics at a January tournament, in addition to having competed with them at other competitions.

“We’re going to have really good matchups,” said Giomi of the upcoming tournament.

ARES member and Nevada Union sophomore Kenton Boswell spoke of how the team has helped him understand mechanical engineering as much as it’s helped him manage group dynamics. In order to diffuse potential conflict, Boswell said team members detach themselves from an idea, and try adopting both sides of an argument if a disagreement arises. With this technique in place, the team has high hopes for moving past the state tournament.

“I think we’ll do pretty well,” said Julia Barbieri, eighth grader at Yuba River Charter School and ARES member.

Despite a slow start to the season, Nevada Union senior and ACME member Ashland Arriaga said the team dominated at a February tournament, qualifying them for the NorCal Championship.

This year, ACME’s robot is entirely customized, said Arriaga, which allows members a distinct feeling of satisfaction, particularly when they brought the robot to life, moving something from imagined conception to physical reality.

Now, Arriaga said the team has a good shot at moving on from the state tournament, but that “there’s no way of telling what will happen.”

The championship in March features the top 56 of over 200 teams in northern California, according to Stephanie Lewis, team mentor to ACME and ARES. The top teams from that championship will qualify for the World Championship in Houston in April.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email or call 530-477-4219.

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