PVIT Competition Season is Underway


PVIT’s FRC team at a competition. (Photo courtesy of Lorraine Loh-Norris)

Sophie Stoddart, Reporter

PVHS’s highly successful PVIT program has entered a new competition season. Various teams of individual student-engineers specializing in branches such as robotics and rocketry will go head-to-head with other teams in California. 

These teams have been rigorously preparing for competition season since the start of the school year. 

“We start in August and September.  . . . In the fall they are trying to learn skills and go over judges’ notes from the previous year’s competitions. Or they’re trying to teach new kids how to use the equipment. Then, once the competition comes out, they’re focused on the competition itself,” PVIT co-director Lorraine Loh-Norris said.

The First Robotics Team (FRC) placed fourth in their second Regional Competition, doing better in their competition than FRC has ever done before. 

“We had a lot more people on hand so we were able to build a really good robot compared to some years,” FRC lead programmer Daniel Chu, senior, said. 

Their team placed extremely well in their first competition given the work that still had to be done. 

“At the Ventura County Regional, we still had lots of testing to do still, but we were able to do really well,” Chu said. “We [collaborated] really well with our teammates and ended up placing 19th out of 46 teams.”

After considering improvements that could be made after their first competition, they were incredibly successful in their second. 

“At the San Diego Regional, we were a top five team in terms of scoring, and although we weren’t ranked overall, we made it to the semifinals and were able to win. Just one step from the finals,” Chu said.

Two VEX Robotics Teams also qualified for the California State Championships.

“We ended up placing 16th out of 50 teams at states,” VEX team member junior Ransom Liu said. 

“One of the biggest challenges we faced as a team was not having enough time. After we qualified for the State Championship, we had roughly a month to come up with a better design for our robot before states. With only two weeks left we started building our robot, and we finished building three days before the State Championship. So we only had three days to tune everything else.”

The ROV Team has yet to compete. 

“This year we’re expecting more teams to get back on their feet from COVID,” ROV team member senior Cynthia Ho said. “So we’re expecting more serious competition.” 

The team is currently working on their robot and is looking forward to their season. 

“The competition is in four weeks and we don’t have a robot, but it’s always been a tight schedule,” Ho said. 

“I’m hopeful—our team has a history of doing really well, so I think we have a chance at Internationals.”

It’s clear that PVIT teams and individuals have excelled this year.

“I’m super proud of the creativity that they have within the program, of how they’ve learned to work together and how they’ve learned to solve problems together,” Norris said.