Center Grove teams have seen almost a decade in growth
The success of Center Grove High School’s robotics program can reach new heights with two of its three teams competing in Saturday’s state tournament at Purdue University.
Center Grove features a main team called FRC 1741 Red Alert Robotics in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition and two smaller outfits for freshmen and middle schoolers in FTC CyberStorm 6190 and FTC 8149 Panic in the Buildroom; both are in the tournament.
“This season and last season is where we gained an understanding of what we really need to do to be competitive and teach the kids what they need to know to move on to the big robot and other robotic institutions,” team mentor Mark Horne said.
The FRC team was formed in 2007 and has grown to more than 60 students. With so many wanting a piece of the action, the two smaller teams have allowed younger students to become equipped faster than the inaugural team could have dreamed of almost a decade ago.
The FRC squad features more than 45 students, some of whom are freshmen. The FTC teams consist of roughly six students each from the eighth and ninth grades.
“We kinda suggested the freshmen move back to FTC; that way they could continue to develop their knowledge,” team captain and Center Grove senior Connor Osborne said. We now have a manageable size for our FRC team.
Keeping the momentum going is the new Innovation Center that Center Grove Schools is building. Half of it is used by the robotics team.
“It has allowed us to store everything, keep everything set up,” Osborne said. “Where as before at the high school we couldn’t get a field set up. This has allowed us to do more with our time.”
FTC CyberStorm 6190 qualified for the state competition in December, despite having only one returning member. FTC 8149 Panic in the Buildroom also made the cut with a strong performance Feb. 6.
Red Alert Robotics has 20 mentors assisting the students, but Osborne explained that team can always use more as the qualifications are simple.
“We are always on the market for more mentors,” he said. “Generally if you want to learn more about robotics, the mentors learn alongside the students as well. Typically, (qualifications are) any experience in technology and a willingness to come to practice.”
Red Alert Robotics will have a recruiting event after spring break for Center Grove Middle School students wanting to learn more about the program.