Park City Robotics Teams Set World Record


Kate Beal

On April 11th, the Park City Robotics Club participated at the state robotics championship.  Three teams from Park City won: Nuclear Minds, Robominer, and Yolk.  Nuclear Minds and Yolk also set a new world record for the number of points scored by an alliance of teams in the Ultimate Goal game.


All of the five Park City teams competed at the state championship, which took place at Southern Utah University.  It was run by FIRST Tech Challenge, which also runs several other tech oriented competitions for middle and high school students.


The Nuclear Minds and Yolk teams from Park City achieved their world record by scoring four hundred twenty five points in a game where their opponents scored only one hundred seventy three.


“We were absolutely thrilled and so impressed with them,” said Sheri Prucka, a mentor for the club.  “The teams had actually been setting records throughout the competition season … this was just the most recent, and the highest score they achieved.”


Although their performance at the state championship would qualify them for the World Championship, Park City will be unable to attend this year, since it has been canceled due to the pandemic.


The competition was centered around a game called Ultimate Goal.  The robots had to be able to maneuver across the playing field, as well as collect rings (approximately five inches in diameter) and shoot them into goals to score points.


The robots were pre-programmed for the first thirty seconds of the game, then controlled by the drivers throughout the last two and a half minutes.  To play the game, two teams were randomly assigned to work together against two opposing teams.


The teams had been building their robots for this game for the past five months.  Many of the older robotics members, such as those in the Nuclear Minds group, acted as mentors for the younger students.


The first competition took place in February.  The teams continued to improve their robots throughout this period.


The Nuclear Minds team went through four to five iterations of their ring collection system.  They also shifted their method of shooting the rings to reduce internal grinding.


“We do that every year,” said Jake Stocker, captain of Nuclear Minds.  “We change things on our robot to make it better.”


The teams qualified for the state championship through several Qualifier competitions that took place throughout the state.  The Park City teams were able to qualify not only because of their performance in the game, but also through their community outreach.


Park City teams qualified for the World Championship the last two years as well, although they were also unable to attend last year.


“Park City kind of has a reputation for being pretty good engineering students because we have access to the resources, we’re pretty fortunate about that,” explained Stocker.  “We also have really good mentors, and the older kids help teach the younger kids, so it makes it a lot easier for them to get to that level.”


Although the World Championship is canceled this year, Park City is planning on continuing to compete this summer.  If it is not cancelled, they are expected to be invited to the Maryland Tech Invitational this July. They are also planning to hold a robotics invitational competition at Park City High School this summer.



“They invite all the good robots from around the country,” described Stocker.  “It’s going to be fun to compete with robots that are really good and put up a good fight, because that makes it a lot more interesting.”