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Southold robotics team gears up for competition in Rochester next week

The Drive and Build team with club president Abbey Cacovic.Photo: Katharine Schroeder

If you happened to pass by the Southold High School gym last night, you might have heard the unusual sounds of whirring machines and the shouts of students — and you might have been tempted to stick your head in the door to see what was going on.

Several people did just that as they left the board of education meeting and what they found was the Southold robotics team getting ready for an upcoming competition.

Robotics club mentor Bob Gammon had invited Westhampton Beach’s robotics team to come to Southold for a scrimmage to practice for next weekend’s event.

“It helps make our drivers more proficient when it comes to game time,” said Gammon.

“Game time” is coming up next weekend when Team 870 heads up to Rochester for the FIRST Finger Lakes Robotics Competition at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Two weeks after that they will  compete at Hofstra University in the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island regional FIRST Robotics Competition.

This year’s practice robot, affectionately nicknamed “Sally,” scoots from one side of a practice playing field to the other, picking up large plastic gears or giant Wiffle balls and depositing them in a hopper.

Sally deposits gears into a hopper. Photo: Katharine Schroeder

It took the team six weeks to build the competition robot and its duplicate; “Sally” is used strictly for practice and the other, nicknamed “Mustang” is for the games.

This year’s robotics team has 25 members in grades 9 through 12 and is mentored by Bob Gammon, Christine Schade, Ed Chilton and Kim Chilton.

Team 870 instructs Sally remotely. Photo: Katharine Schroeder
‘Sally’ on the practice course. Photo: Katharine Schroeder

 

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Katharine Schroeder
Katharine is a writer and photographer who has lived on the North Fork for nearly 40 years, except for three-plus years in Hong Kong a decade ago, working for the actor Jackie Chan. She lives in Cutchogue. Email Katharine