APEX Robotics Wins Excellence Award

Jillian Rash

While some people spend their time honing their musical skills or practicing sports, the members of APEX Robotics work for hours to program and build their robots. While others aren’t so gifted with engineering, the members of APEX, Muneeb Asaad, Aiden Childs, Carter Henry, Garrett McGee, Colin McKeen, are Saravan Narayanan, are well-versed in it.

Building the robots takes dedication, hard work, and countless hours of work. The members work on the robots in their free time and meet as a group for hours to work out the programming.

“It mainly just starts with brainstorming, trying to figure out what the game is, and from there it’s really about trial and error,” Henry said.

After that, it’s about putting the parts together to see what works and what does not. It doesn’t happen all in one day, though.  

“You look at what’s most efficient and then you look at the pros and the cons,” McGee said. “You basically draw it up in CAT, which is a computer program, and then you use the parts that you need.”

The game they talk about isn’t a card or board game; it’s more complicated than that. It involves hours of planning and teamwork to get the robots ready.

“We don’t do the whole Battle Bots thing because personally, it’s heartbreaking to see something you’ve worked on for so many months to get destroyed,” Henry said. “What we do is actually a competitive game. This year, the objective is that you have to stack cones on this goal and move it around and then that’s just worth a bunch of different points.”

Instead of destroying other robots to move on, the team has to outperform everyone else to advance. Their tournaments can last all day.

“Each team basically plays around 8 matches total,” Henry said. “Then the top 8 become the leaders, and they pick a bunch of other people that they want to take into finals.”

Normal tournaments can be challenging, but the World Competition is a lot more competitive with hundreds of teams competing.

“There are around 500 teams, and that’s way too many for one section so typically you get divided into 5 divisions with 100 teams each and the best teams play each other at the end,” McGee said.

At APEX’s last tournament in early January, they competed against numerous teams from all over Texas.

“[At the competition] we went 9-0, a perfect record,” McGee said.

Not only did they win the entire tournament, they won the Excellence award.

“It is the highest award that can be gifted to a team and it’s basically about building a great robotics program, having good team synergy and just overall great performance,” Henry said.

When they found out they won the Excellence Award, APEX was ecstatic and glad that their hard work had paid off.

“It’s kind of a fun process because you get to see the fruits of what you have been working on and it’s really satisfying to get Excellence,” McGee said. “It’s good to see that recognized.”