Team 525 places first at Duluth regional

Team 525 earns extra points at the end of the match for climbing to the highest platform with their robot. The overall competition ends with their alliance made up of team 525 Swartdogs, 2052 KnightKrawlers and 3630 Stampedes. To the right team 525 operates their robot to place a disc on the match’s provided rocket. 

The 525 Swartdogs robotics team and their alliance took home a huge victory qualifying them for the championship in Detroit last weekend.

“When we won the last finals match, it was the best feeling in the world,” Claire Shaw, freshman and participant in the FRC robotics team at the high school, said. “The entire last match my heart was racing and my hands were shaking, but all the stress paid off. The amount of joy throughout everyone in the arena and our alliance was crazy and the [best] thing that could happen at my first regional.”

The competition included 90 total qualifying matches with every team being involved in nine of them. Every match had an alliance made up of three schools competing against a second alliance. All the teams are randomly matched up to work to win the match so they can earn ranking points. Winning a match gets the team two ranking points, and extra points can be earned based on how the team scores.

After the qualifying matches are over, the top eight teams move on the the playoffs. Each of these teams selects two additional teams as partners for an alliance for the playoffs.

This year the teams placed 19-inch disks or hatch panels on rocket or cargo ships for two points and put 13-inch rubber playground balls or the cargo into openings in the rocket or cargo ships for three points. Robots also earned three or six points for driving off a platform from different levels and heights at the beginning of a match and three, six or 12 points by climbing to the different levels on a platform at the end of the match.

The 525 Swartdogs focused on climbing to the highest platform at the end of the match to score points and being able to place hatch panels and cargo on any of the rocket or cargo ship positions and ended up winning eight out of nine of their qualifying matches, leaving them ranked at second place.

Team 2052 KnightKrawlers were the number one seeded team and selected the Swartdogs as a partner for their alliance as well as team 3630 Stampede. The alliance won the quarterfinals, semifinal and finals matches to win the competition and even get the highest score (94) possible in one of the matches. 

Moving on to Worlds allows the team to compete against people from all over the country according to Kenton Swartley, the coach of team 525.

Within the team, the first ever sibling drive team for the 525 Swartdogs, Claire Shaw and Lucas Shaw, helped with the success that occurred that day.

“Lucas Shaw is the driver and Claire Shaw is the co-driver. Lucas’ job is to move the robot around the field using joysticks and buttons to control it. Claire’s job is to control the arm movements using buttons programmed to move it to set positions. They worked incredibly well together,” Swartley said.

“Being on drive team with Lucas was something I was actually really scared about. Since he’s my [older] brother, I was terrified I was going to mess up, and I didn’t want to let him down,” Shaw said. “He [is] actually an amazing partner along with everyone else in drive team. The best part for me was when we got to the last 30 seconds of a match [and] he would compliment me. It doesn’t sound like the biggest thing, but hearing his approval meant a lot.”

The next step for the team, according to Swartley, is to talk about goals such as improvement of scoring points in matches, awards presentations and scouting at their next meeting and competing in the Iowa Regional, March 21-23 in the McLeod Center at UNI.

“Anyone in town over spring break should come out to support our team,” Swartley said.

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