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Local News

January 4, 2014

Students gear up for robot competition

A member of the Otsego County 4-H FIRST Robotics Team 4203 said he was excited that another season of competition begins Saturday.

“I’m so psyched,” said Oneonta High School senior Chris Lenter. “It’s such an amazing experience,” leading up to the regional competition in mid-March, and possibly beyond, he said.

The team will find out what the year’s problem will be from a worldwide simulcast presented by the international nonprofit FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), with the help of NASA, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Most of the 15 member team made up of Oneonta High School students will meet at 10 a.m. at the Main Street Masonic Lodge, along with parents and mentors, for the viewing, team leader Paul Agoglia said. A small group will travel to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to pick up the supplies FIRST provides, in time to see the simulcast there. The small group will return to Oneonta to join the start of the design process.

The group will meet until 4 p.m. Saturday and again from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. After that, they will meet daily after school to design and build the robot in time for the competition, Agoglia said. “It’s an intense time.”

The first year the team, RoboKronos, participated, it had to design a robot that shoots baskets. It participated in the World Championships that year after receiving the Rookie All-Star Award. Last year’s robot had to toss a Frisbee.

With a more experienced team, the preseason seems to be running smoother, Agoglia said.

“We’ve been through it a few times, so we know what to expect,” he said, and the team is better-organized as well.

This will be Lentner’s third competition.

“It’s been a learning experience,” he said. “We have had to pick up the skills.”

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