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Robowolves invade Woodcreek High School

Robotics team raising money to compete next year
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Woodcreek High School's robotics team recently attended a tournament and watched with envy as robots built by other teenagers played basketball.

The Woodcreek students didn't get a chance to make their own athletic robots, instead being relegated to the sidelines. The reason: Their team, the Robowolves, didn't have enough money.

"What we need as a team is community support so we can exist and compete next year," said President Anthony Thompson, a junior. "We need $6,000 for the FIRST competition so anything we can get from the community (will help)."

FIRST Robotics was founded in 1989 in New Hampshire. The nonprofit organization's name means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology and now includes hundreds of campus clubs throughout the United States that compete in building the best robots.

Woodcreek's team began this school year and now has about a dozen members. They've focused on raising funds and collecting spare parts from other teams, including Granite Bay High School, and hope to actually build a robot during the 2012-13 academic year.

Treasurer Conner Herrlin, a junior, has called up local businesses for sponsorships.

"That's our No. 1 goal right now," said Herrlin, who hopes to eventually have a career in industrial technology.

Thompson was part of a robotics team at the high school he previously attended in Sacramento. When his family relocated he decided to start a team at Woodcreek.

"I know all about it and I didn't want to stop robotics (when I moved). It's a good experience for everybody," said Thompson, an aspiring mechanical engineer.

Freshman Miguel MacNamara learned about robotics from his dad - he's built computer motherboards, radio control cars and he's working on an engine for a Mustang.

"Robotics is not really my passion, but I like the mechanics of it," he said.

Junior Shayla Poindexter is one of three girls on Robowolves. She's built things before, but never a robot.

"I joined because I saw 'engineer' on a flier and that's what I want to be when I grow up - or an astrophysicist," she said.

Sophomore Joshuah Gagan is the club's vice president, and he manages the business side, forming alliances with other teams.

"Robotics has been a passion for me," he said. "It's a miracle that Woodcreek High School has a robotics team. I saw the flier and (thought), 'Hey, this is finally happening.' Innovation is something that inspires me. It's helping to improve and that's what life is all about - improvement. And I want to be part of that."

And Gagan has big plans for his future: He wants to be CEO of Intel or Apple.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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To donate to Woodcreek High School's Robowolves robotics team or for sponsorship information, email robowolves.frc@gmail.com.