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Pratt robotics students win virtual competition awards

Ruby Howell
Pratt Tribune
Pratt High School robotics team members celebrate a virtual victory in the Texas State Championship competition.

Before the 2020 Christmas break, the Pratt High School robotics team won top awards at the Texas State Championship event. Due to COVID-19, this year looked a little different for the Greenback robotics team than in the past, at least when it came to competition location. 

There were two ways to compete this year, both done remotely, and Pratt participated in the online version, so no physical traveling was necessary. 

In seasons past, the team traveled to their local hub, Heartland BEST, in Alva, Oklahoma. 

PHS head coach Heath Sharp said that this year they competed in Little Rock BEST competition in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Sharp said the team was  tasked with designing a virtual robot, to perform on a virtual game field but has to present it as if it were a real robot. The team was judged on many things, including robot performance, engineering notebook, marketing presentation, and a  knowledge and skills quiz. 

Pratt won the Autonomous Programming Challenge and Online Robot Performance at Little Rock. The latter advanced the team to the regional, Texas State Championships. 

At the Texas State Championship, the team was judged again on the same aspects and won the Online Robot Performance again. 

“I am always amazed how students step up to lead and find ways to contribute to be a great teammate,” Sharp said. “This year was exceptional in that respect. Additionally, with this year's competition being so dependent on the virtual computer environment, Nick Vail (sr.) had some particularly important contributions.”

Vail was the lead programmer for the team. 

This year’s team had about 18 students. Sharp has been coaching Robotics at PHS for 15 years.