Spartan Robotics innovates to attempt progressing to State Competition


Photo courtesy of Tristen Van Gilder

The Greeley West robotics team competes earlier this year.

Desmond Ramirez, Staff Writer

Greeley West High School started their own Robotics team last year, this year being the second year battling against other schools’ creations. The competition for the robots this year is spin-up, a game similar to basketball where there are many different scoring options and the way to win is to have the most total points at the end of time. 

The process of building robots to be able to compete takes about three to four months to be used in competitions. Students need to do many things such as programming, designing and building. Science teacher and coach Mr. Tristen Vangilder says, “My goal for the team is to let them work in the STEM lab. I’m not allowed to do work on the robot, so really what I can do is give time and resources to the kids.” 

Vangilder tends to do coach work outside of just the meetings and practices. He likes to find ideas and learn from how different schools incorporate those ideas to inspire the Spartan’s robots. “When I go to meets I constantly volunteer to judge and get eyes on other teams and see what they are doing,” Vanglider said,  “Also just talking to the coaches at the events that are with me, networking to find the best designs to give to my players.”

As of now the Spartans robotics team are destined to make state with the two competitions left in the season. They are confident in staying in their placement with the competitions arising soon. Junior Brendan Truitt said, “At this point it is just practicing, and I feel like we are going to do really well in these next two competitions.  Our robot is fully tuned in.”

Brendan has a passion for his robots. He loves talking about it and working on it when he has the time for it. He isn’t just focused on his practices and meetings, he does the extra work outside of school to ensure the robots capabilities are fulfilled. Truitt said, “ Outside of practice I like to look at ideas other teams have come up with and also look into the coding aspect of it, because during our meetings is usually just testing it out and seeing if it works.”

The first part of setting up a robot is the foundation. If the foundation isn’t set up, other parts of the project aren’t going to work the way you anticipated them. So starting off strong and making sure the basics are good is what these Spartans want to ensure they don’t have to worry about it later. Junior Caleb Lam said, “I personally like designing first, saying things such as ‘where are we going to get these resources, what is our plan of action and one of the important things to make sure is the basics are good.’ Because if the basics don’t work, no matter how fancy other parts are, it’s not going to be useful.”