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SWAT gears down for end of season

SWAT members testing out the robot before competition.

SWAT members testing out the robot before competition.

Photo by Amanda Holt

Photo by Amanda Holt

SWAT members testing out the robot before competition.

Amanda Holt, Staff Writer

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The SWAT Team, Smithville’s robotics team, just returned from FIRST World Championship. This competition marks the official end of the 2017 season.

Even though the season starts in January, the team started working in August.

“This year we were training students, working on programming – kind of prepping all the things we’ll need to do, so when January came we could actually be successful,” said Jason Jones, SWAT adviser.

For robotics competitions, teams work with two other teams, and for this competition, they competed against three other groups of teams.

SWAT was in the number seven seed going into the competition and made it to semifinals but ended up losing to the number three seed.

“There were about 400 teams, a little more actually, so out of those 400 teams, the team that was on our field ended up winning everything,” Jones said. “We didn’t know if we had enough power to beat them anyway, but we would have liked to have a shot to beat them.”

SWAT won a competition in Oklahoma earlier this year, which marked their third straight victory at that location.”

“The only reason it isn’t more than three is because four years ago, we didn’t go and the year before that we won it, so we’re feeling pretty good about keeping the consistent win streak going,” Jones said

Last year, the team had many seniors graduate, but there were many team members that stepped up to lead the team to victory.

“We kind of had a pretty big gap in terms of who was going to take over and how are we going to design the robot and how are we gonna fabricate the robot, and how all that would come together, so they stepped up which was pretty huge,” Jones said.

Christopher Ariagno, head programmer, was one of those who stepped up to the leadership role.

“Well, this is my first year of being head programmer so it was fun just being able to say that. And seeing the robot progress from when it was like an idea to an actual robot,” Ariagno said.

Going into the 2018 season, the team is losing more seniors, but not as many as last year.

“This being my last year is kind of bittersweet. While it is my last year of robotics and that is a sad moment, I am excited about what awaits me in my future,” said Meg Reinhardt, senior.

The team will be working during the summer, but the official season is over for now.

“I think next year is going to be a good one for us because we have a lot of students that have knowledge coming back, so we’re not going to be starting from scratch, like we have to do some years,” Jones said.

SWAT got second place at Missouri State Robotics Team Championships this past weekend.

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