Robotics team heads to Worlds

The 525 Swartdogs recieved third place at the robotics world competition. The team also recieved the highly ranked Chairmans award that got them to Worlds.

Out of the 68 teams in their division, the 525 Swartdogs ranked 3rd at the robotics worlds competition at Cobo Center in Detroit Michigan until they were eliminated in the division quarterfinals.

After qualifying in two ways by winning the Northern Lights Regional in Duluth, Minn., and winning the regional Chairman’s award at the Iowa Regional in Cedar Falls, the Swartdogs had to compete in the qualification matches and then quarter, semi, and finals of their division. After a team wins the finals of their division, they then move on to Einstein. This part of the competition starts with a round robin where the winners of the six divisions play against each other in a total of 15 round robin matches. The two alliances or divisions that have won the most matches in the round robin then move on to the Einstein finals match in Ford Field, and the winner of that is the winner of the championships. “I really thought I was going to be way more nervous than I was. Of course, I still had nerves, but after I realized that we had already made it so far and we had already been so successful, my nerves went away,” freshman robotics teammate Claire Shaw said. “We all wanted to do as best as we could, but the Worlds Championship is for the teams to celebrate their already awarded victory that got them there and have fun. Being a freshman and getting that far was amazing in its own, I didn’t care if we were ranked third or ranked 60th, I just wanted to have fun, and that’s exactly what I did.”

According to Kenton Swartley, coach of team 525, the loss had a lot to do with some bad luck.  During the first playoff match a Hatch Panel, that is used to score points, was dropped and then rolled in front of another scoring point causing their alliance to miss out on three other scoring opportunities.  

“I’m proud of all the hard work that team members contributed to our team efforts. We have a great group to work with. As we talked at our meeting last night, one highlight of the team’s efforts was repairing a mechanical breakdown in a limited amount of time. In a Friday morning match, a pulley broke near the end of the match. While we still won the match, we knew there were repairs to make. With about 90 minutes until our next match, students worked hard to disassemble the robot to get the broken pulley out and replace it with a new one. Unfortunately, we did not have a spare, so I had to visit other teams to ask for a spare pulley. The students were able to get the repair done just in time to compete again, although they didn’t have time to fully reassemble the robot, so they drove it in the next match with one wheel missing. They were still able to perform well and our alliance won the next match also.” Swartley said.

Despite the bad luck the celebratory attitude carried on even when the 525 Swartdogs were eliminated. “When we were eliminated, I was, of course, sad that we didn’t make it farther, but I was so proud of how well we had done that the feeling went away very quickly. What was really great was that our team wasn’t gloomy when it happened. There was momentary sadness, but even though we didn’t go as far as we had hoped, we were still able to sit and cheer for those who did,” Shaw said. “My favorite part was seeing and cheering on our alliance captains from Duluth, team 2052, who won their division and made in the Einstein round robin and from the Iowa regional, team 930, who won their division and made it all the way to the Einstein finals in Ford Field.” Following the competition that brought the season to a close, Shaw said that the team would most likely not spend a lot of time working on the robot but they will be participating in an off season event and will be using the robot for outreach events now that the seniors are getting closer to graduating.

“[An] obstacle [we will be facing] is that there are seniors, like every year, who are graduating and had served important roles on the team and now are working to, I guess, ‘pass the torch’ down to the new and younger students, like me, to fill their shoes as they leave,” Shaw said.

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