CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Last weekend, the Moody underwater robotics team competed at the Marine Advanced Technical Education Northern Gulf Coast Regional Competition in Mobile, AL.
The event matched the Moody team against the best teams across the Northern Gulf Coast Region.
In the competition, the team had multiple challenges to complete, all of which mimicked real-world issues.
“When we went there, we didn’t know what to expect, because this was our first time being there,” said Jaziel Gonzalez, a senior and the CEO for the group’s "business." “We met a lot of new people, it was a very new experience for everyone.”
The students had a robot they brought to the competition, which has a camera to view underwater, and a claw to pick up objects. However, after their first test run, the students realized they needed to make a crucial adjustment.
“The bottom section was preventing us from picking objects up off the floor,” said Daniel Cantu Martinez, a sophomore and the CNC operator/mechanical engineer for the group. “So, after our first round, we went outside and discussed it together, and we decided to remove this and come up with a better flight plan.”
The adjustments worked, and the Moody team finished in first place in the region.
“We know what our strengths and flaws are, what our limit is, and who’s best at doing what,” said Diego Gonzalez, a senior and the group’s documenter/COO.
“We were very focused on getting that first place. We were not going to go home getting second or third,” Jaziel Gonzalez said. “We had eyes on first place, we got first place.”
The group was excited to have their hard work, and adjustments, pay off with the top honor.
“I felt like I was actually doing something that was beneficial to the organization, and I felt like I was actually doing something that mattered to my company,” Cantu Martinez said.
Along with the top finish, the Moody team finished with enough points in the competition to qualify for the MATE World Championship in California in June.
The competition will feature the best teams from across the U.S., and around 16 other countries, and will be held in Long Beach, CA from June 21-25.
Many of the students have never been to California, or rarely even get to leave the state, so they are excited for the opportunity.
Cantu Martinez said even though the group has about a month and a half before the competition, they aren’t going to waste any time starting to prepare.
“We’re going to start planning tomorrow, or maybe later this week,” he said. “We really need to develop a set plan, so that we’re able to overcome challenges that we might have, and be able to get the top spot.”