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Quantum Leap Electrifies Competition in 2023 Beach Blitz

True and Blue: Quantum Leap sports the iconic blue Beach Blitz banner after their competition victory at Capistrano Valley High School during the Nov. 3-5 weekend. They competed with their robot “Rigoletto” over the course of three days to eventually win the overall title, which they hope will be a sign of more wins to come. (Courtesy of OA Robotics)

Oxford Academy’s First Robotics Competition (FRC) robotics team, Quantum Leap, came out on top at the Beach Blitz robotics competition on Nov. 3-5 in their first overall competition victory since 2019. With the blue victory banner and commemorative trophy in tow, they eagerly await the new year’s season to continue their winning streak. But for now, their sights are set on expanding the program and preparing for the new season.14

Quantum Leap competed with their 2023 robot “Rigoletto” in an alliance with two other robotics teams, Mubotics and Hawaiian Kids. The rules entailed alliance robots going head-to-head moving a series of cones and boxes into designated areas on the playing field and gaining points based on the configuration of the moved objects. By the end of the three-day competition period, their alliance came out on top of the bracket as the overall winner, taking home the Beach Blitz banner and trophy. 

“My favorite part was definitely the winning,” Freshman Aaron Truong said, who controlled the robot on the field. “Some games were super close, but the feeling of winning right there at the moment was just on another level.”

This year, they implemented a new drivetrain, in charge of controlling the robot’s movement, which was instrumental in giving the team a leg up on the competition. The mechanism, called Swerve, allowed for more responsive and calculated movement across the playing field, which was especially helpful for the precision necessary in the 2023 game’s ruleset.

“Not only did we have to implement the system, the students had to work hard to learn how to operate it,” advisor Dr. Alonso said. “But, that was one of the best things we could have done for sure.”

Under Dr. Alonso’s guidance, the program has grown to over seventy participants. Going into the new season, the club still hopes to recruit members and expand the program’s opportunities and mentorship as much as possible. The club has multiple divisions and teams for each division, which require more student and mentor hands.

“The best part of robotics is the community,” said Truong. “Around here, there’s a lot of kids willing to both learn and help learn, so we can really foster a crazy and supportive team energy.”

Their industry mentors also contributed hours of their own time to advise the teams. The club hopes that adding more mentors to their staff will streamline each teams’ development processes.

“There are only so many of us,” Dr. Alonso said, who also acts as one of two official coaches for the club. “We have five mentors, and we have over seventy five kids, so our mentors are currently spread very [thinly]. We would ideally have one mentor for each of our teams.”

With the new season already around the corner, the club is currently hard at work training its newest members. Quantum Leap’s FRC division expects its earliest competitions around April of 2024, where they will once again compete against other teams in a brand new game and ruleset. They aspire to be recognized at the district level and possibly make it to the world competitions, which will both be relatively new territory for the club. But, win or lose, they are sure to continue doing what they love best.

“Seeing the kids get together, talk to each other, and go to their mentors to get advice is very refreshing to me,” Dr. Alonso said. “I’m very proud of being a small part of this special program.”

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About the Contributor
Tyler Nguyen
Tyler Nguyen, Staff Writer
Active zucchini bread hater and morning showerer, Tyler Nguyen is a sophomore writer on staff, excited to write and tackle journalism competitions. Despite his self-diagnosed declaration of being “obnoxiously loud,” Tyler is an understanding, open-minded, and overall chill guy with a lottery-winning smile. Coincidentally, he compares himself to a lottery wheel, and whether it’s because he’s adventurous or indecisive, we’ll never know. With future aspirations of going into physical therapy, he currently plays tennis and commits to the gym. On campus, you might see him with a camera taking photos for the Gamut and pursuing his passion for photography. Outside of campus, you’ll find him volunteering with his signature Tyler Smile™. Whether you’re looking for an easygoing guy to strike up a conversation with or a dude with a dog named Bella, Tyler’s got your back.
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