By Bernardo Verdiguel,
The Davis High robotics team, 1678 Citrus Circuits, won the Chairman’s Award for the first time in team history at the UC Davis Regionals on March 24. The team also won the regionals itself, continuing its streak of wins this season.
The Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award that a robotics team can win. It honors the team that best embodies the spirit and professionality of the contest.
Chairman’s lead James Zablotsky was awestruck when they won
“When it was announced I went completely numb, it didn’t feel real,” Zablotsky said.
To be eligible for the Chairman’s Award, the team had to submit a sort of application that includes a written essay, an executive summary and a video describing the team’s outreach, which must then be presented before a panel of judges. Zablotsky’s job is to direct the creation of the submission elements.
The team’s outreach focuses on “three fundamental pillars of education, outreach and commitment to excellence,” Zablotsky said. Its philosophy is simple: “Fail faster to succeed sooner.” Zablotsky says that failure only helps the team improve their robots and their programs.
Zablotsky says that the team dedicated a lot of time to winning the award and the regionals.
“Every person has put so much time into this win. It’s fair to say we put our heart and soul into this program,” Zablotsky said.
The team’s next focus will be on winning the Chairman’s Award at the Houston National Championships. The award is given at every regional and championship, which means an individual team can win more than one Chairman’s Award each season.
The Championship Chairman’s Award, however, is unique. If Citrus Circuits wins the award at the Houston championships then they are admitted into the Hall of Fame, and thereafter qualify for every National Championship no matter the results of regionals.
“It doesn’t matter how bad your team does; you qualify for every championship if you win the Chairman’s Award at championships,” programming lead Sam Chung said.
Chung is proud of their efforts at the UCD regionals.
“Our team performed really well. We’re pretty competitive and it was a really competitive regional,” Chung said.
Thus far, 1678 Citrus Circuits remains undefeated this season.