M'Aiken Magic Robotics Team Enjoys Early Success
In a room tucked in the back of Aiken High School’s campus is a practice field unlike others on the property. This one’s full of colored blocks and towers and offers a chance for members of the M’Aiken Magic Robotics Team to finely tune their robot for the VEX Robotics league.
The M’Aiken Magic Robotics Team offers students the chance to work with professionals and get hands-on experience in STEM fields, and their small bot team has had a successful competition season so far.
“We have two different leagues of teams,” said John Fogarty, the team’s head coach.
“We have the junior varsity league consisting of mostly freshman and sophomore students, and then the varsity league which does not start at the beginning of the school year, it starts in January. So what we’ve competed with up to this point has been the VEX league, the junior varsity league.”
That group has attended one competition, which took place the first weekend in January in Chapin.
The team played well during the tournament-style event, and was part of the No. 1 seeded alliance with Dutch Fork High School going into the playoffs, where they went undefeated.
“Our overall record at the end now is eight wins and one loss,” Fogarty said.
Twenty-two students are part of M’Aiken Magic. The team consists of students from Aiken and South Aiken high schools, Schofield and Leavelle McCampbell middle schools, and a few homeschool students.
Gaby Riggins is a junior at South Aiken High School, who joined the team for the first time this year, and was one of the drivers of the robot during the competition.
Riggins said she enjoys building the robot, and that being on the team has given her a lot more knowledge about how things work and how to build things.
Regarding driving the robot, she said practice is needed to learn the controls. Once those are mastered, driving is pretty easy.
When asked about the atmosphere at the competition, Riggins described it as “pretty chill” compared to other sports she’s been part of.
“And also it’s no running, so I’m pretty happy,” she joked.
Fogarty said this is the first year the VEX league team has had mostly younger students on the team.
“Last year we competed in that league and we still allowed our older students to compete and we still won mostly with an older student team, however it’s more impressive this year because the robot that won the tournament this year was consisting of students who probably have never built a robot before,” Fogarty said.
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