Robotics adapts and overcomes obstacles in Canada


Team Spyder celebrates their Engineering Inspiration Award.

Daniel Sweeney, Staff Writer

Over finals week, while most of Poway High was on campus, Team Spyder 1622 was in the city of Victoria, Canada, overcoming obstacles while competing for glory in the Canadian Pacific Regional.  

On the way to the competition, their robot, “High Voltage’, was lost by their airline, Westjet. They were going to need a robot to have any chance of winning an award, so they began construction of a replacement while the other was slated to arrive a day later. After asking around for spare parts and using what they still had, Team Spyder was able to assemble their substitute, dubbed ‘Low Voltage’. The heartbreak continued when the team showed up to the airport in the middle of the night, expecting the lost robot to finally arrive, but it never came.

Realizing they would have to make due with ‘Low Voltage’, they went into the competition and were able to win three of five challenges they entered. Due to this impressive performance despite setbacks, they were awarded the Engineering Inspiration Award, and qualified for higher levels of competition.

For freshman Cole Giczkowski, this was his very first major trip for robotics, and it was a lot to overcome on the first day. Giczkowski and his teammates felt accomplished afterwards. 

“It felt like solving a problem,” Giczkowski said.

This was not sophomore Will Hovel’s first outing, as he attended regionals in Ventura County and Utah last year. The whole trip was a bonding experience for the team, but they were already a high-powered unit. 

“We had a small group of us, and we knew each other for the most part, so I think we had good chemistry,” Hovel said.

 Robotics advisor Rodger Dohm felt that this was an exercise in resilience for the team, and it has prepared them for any challenges they are going to face. 

The team has competed in regional competitions every weekend since then, including Ventura County, Orlando, Florida, and their home court, the San Diego Regional. 

“Doing them every week, I think we’re better, that’s my opinion. I know that some people would say you wanna have time in between, but we’re using the time in between. I personally think that the team is doing better,” Dohm said.

The team has been successful in their competition, winning the Creativity Award in Ventura, and the coveted Impact Award in Orlando, which qualifies them for the championships on April 19th. Be sure to check out Team Spyder’s instagram page for updates, @spyder1622.