Coyote Robotics, Inc. recently completed a very successful 2014-2015 season of participation in the FIRST Tech Challenge program. Over the course of the season, 19 students participated in one or more activities. Three of these were not GWCS students and 9 of them had previously had no experience with robotics. Two past participants now in college returned again to help coach and mentor our teams. Many moms and dads contributed a lot to drive, supervise, mentor, design T-shirts, feed and cheer on our teams. One or both of our teams participated in five official FTC Qualifying or State Championship tournaments, with Team 3749 League of Incompetent Gentlemen taking a Winning Alliance trophy in the Northern Virginia Qualifier and

Team 965 Bionic Renegades winning the Control Award trophy in the Eastern Virginia Qualifier. Together the two teams also took 3rd place in the Off-Season “Battle In The Burg”.

We participated in four other events, including workshops, scrimmages and demonstrations and even hosted our 3rd annual Coyote Robotics scrimmage, bringing about 40 guests to GWCS giving our school and program increased visibility. Educationally, 14 students earned at least one quarter credit for Robotics with 11.75 total credits earned.

In an exciting surprise, we were selected by the Virginia FTC Program Director to be one of three teams representing Virginia at the FTC Asia Pacific Invitational Tournament in Sydney, Australia this coming July. We currently expect to have three students, two coaches and a few family members participating as Team 3749 League of Incompetent Gentlemen.

The FTC 2015-2016 Season has officially begun though we will not learn what the game will be until the first Saturday in September. However, one significant change this year for FTC is the move away from the Lego NXT platform to a new Android-based platform. This will change and improve communication between the Drivers and the Robots, frequently as source of frustration. It will also necessitate a move from RobotC to Java for the programming language. Fortunately, the language structures are very similar and Java should be easier to learn (and more useful) than was RobotC. I’m also happy to announce that Robert Carlisle, Kelley’s dad, has offered to help mentor this year. He will serve as head coach of one of our two teams this coming year.

Gary Lindner
Coyote Robotics Teacher