CBHS Robotics Team finishes 2nd in regional robotics competition

CBHS Robotics Team finishes 2nd in regional robotics competition

The CBHS Electric Wave Robotics Team competed in the FTC Alabama State Championship Jan. 21 in Huntsville, Alabama. Against tough competition from Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and West Virginia, CBHS placed second out of 23 teams. The Electric Wave were led by junior Morgan Trexler, while seniors Dawson Lee and Teddy Owen drove our robot.

The FIRST Tech Challenge Velocity Vortex competition was run by the FIRST organization, founded in 1992 to get high school students interested in STEM careers. The 2016-17 FTC season was the fourth - and most successful - season for CBHS. The team is comprised of seniors Dawson Lee and Teddy Owen; juniors Alexander Tsirgiotis, Morgan Trexler, Luke Johnston, and Ross Johnston; sophomore Wes Jackson; and freshmen Jay Schaffler and David Hernandez. The Robotics Team faculty advisors are math and engineering teachers Allen Higginbotham, Silas Njoroge, and Dana Vaughn.

For this year’s game, the boys were challenged to build a robot that had to complete several tasks in a two-and-a-half-minute game. To encourage the students to learn about STEM, it was required that the robot was solely student-designed and built; the adult moderators only provided advice and expertise.

This year, the Electric Wave competed in two competitions. On December 3, the boys travelled to Mountain Home, Arkansas to take part in the Arkansas State Championship. At this early stage in the season, our robot (nicknamed “Danger Zone”) suffered from a few technical issues. Despite the early setbacks, the team proved to be excellent young engineers. Throughout the day, the boys came up with clever solutions as problems arose with the robot. In the end, the boys persevered and finished 13th in a field of 29.

After Mountain Home, the team refined the design of “Danger Zone” in preparation for Alabama State Championship in Huntsville. With nearly two months to improve their robot, the Electric Wave went to Huntsville with its most competitive robot ever. With the improvements made by the boys, the Electric Wave quickly emerged as a contender for the Alabama State title. In six qualifying matches, the Electric Wave went 5-1 winning most of their matches decisively. After their dominating qualifying performance, the Electric Wave advanced to the semifinal. An easy win in the semifinal and the Electric Wave was set up for the final. Unfortunately, the boys were narrowly defeated in the final 2 matches to 1 by one of the top teams in the region, the “Apex Predators” from Middle Tennessee.

Congratulations to the entire CBHS Robotics Team for their hard work and dedication.


1 Jay Schaffler, Morgan Trexler, and Dawson Lee preparing for a match.

2 The team working on the robot - Morgan Trexler, Luke Johnston, Ross Johnston, Alexander Tsirgiotis.

3 The boys celebrating a successful repair to the lift mechanism - Ross Johnston, Wes Jackson, Morgan Trexler, Teddy Owen, Jay Schaffler, Ross Johnston, Alexander Tsirgiotis, and JD Benjamin.

4 The team preparing for a competition. - Dawson Lee, Morgan Trexler, and Jay Schaffler.

5 The team testing the robot before a match in Huntsville - Morgan Trexler, Wes Jackson, Teddy Owen, JD Benjamin, David Hernandez, Dawson Lee, and Alexander Tsirgiotis.

6 The team celebrating their second-place finish in Huntsville - Wes Jackson, JD Benjamin, Dawson Lee, Alexander Tsirgiotis, David Hernandez, Teddy Owen, and Morgan Trexler.