Local robotics team wins global invitational championship

The Cobra Commanders Team 498 with its Chezy Champs winner banner. (Cobra Commanders Team 498/Submitted)

The Cobra Commanders Team 498, a robotics team made up of students from Peoria Unified School District, recently won the Chezy Champs Invitational in San Jose, California.

The Chezy Champs is a robotics competition where 40 of the best teams from around the world build robots to compete against each other over two days in a variety of different games.

“The thing about these teams in Chezy Champs is they are the top (robotics teams) in the world. These teams have won countless events and have gone to the top finals in the world, and we were able to compete with them,” said Judah Wood, a student on the Cobra Commanders team. “We were able to overcome our challenges and be able to win the entire event. That’s very lucky as an Arizona team because Arizona is not well known for robotics — yet.”

Some of these games include a basketball-like game where robots will try to shoot baskets into a high and low goal and, in the end, the robots need to climb and traverse across a set of bars similar to monkey bars.

Not only did the Cobra Commanders have to build a robot that could accomplish these tasks, but they had to make them huge, too.

“They run between 125 to 150 pounds, and they’re roughly about 3 feet by 3 feet wide, and they can be anywhere from 3 to 4 feet high. They’re also all student made,” said Ken Distel, a mentor on the Cobra Commanders.

While the Cobra Commander’s Team 498 consists of students from all over Peoria Unified School District, the club is based out of Cactus High School in Glendale. The club consists of around 20 students and 15 mentors.

The Cobra Commanders attribute their success to the tight-knit relationship they have as a group.

“Honestly, I feel like it’s just family work,” Judah said. “We come in almost every single day, even weekends. What makes us a good team is we’re able to communicate with each other, and we’re all able to tolerate each other going in and out of our games and guilds. We’re always able to work hard as an entire group.”

“I just love that we’re really close, and we’re like a family here,” added Alex Pierson, a student on the Cobra Commanders. “We just work really well as a team.”

The Cobra Commanders will turn their attention to the next competition, set to take place on Saturday, Oct. 22, at Arizona State University in a tournament that will feature robotics exclusively from Arizona teams.