By Shazem Khalid ’16
In the interest of full disclosure, Shazem Khalid is on the Midwood Robotics team.
Midwood’s robotics team, the Botley Crue, broke – down and took a pit stop into eighth place at the First Tech Challenge (FTC) at Dalton High February 21.
“This year’s team was a lot more prepared and organized than last year’s,” said John Cameson, Robotics teacher and team coach.
This year’s robotics team fought valiantly breaking into the semi – finals before being run – down. Over the course of the year the robotics team members definitely gained experience.
In the first tournament in December, the team was placed 16th being left in the dust by the other schools. However, a mere 2 months later, the team geared up and powered their way, carving a name for themselves in eighth place. Despite their elimination, the team did come home brandishing a trophy for “Best autonomous program” due to Victoria Gnip’s ‘16 effort and determination to perfect the program, achieving in scoring huge amounts of points during the autonomous period, the time in which the robot functions based off a preloaded set of commands.
“We deserved the trophy because we were the only team that could consecutively score mints into the high goal,” said Gnip.
The team tore through their first two matches overwhelming the opposing alliances by created a 100+ point gap in each game leaving the opposition in the dust. Match 3, however, was not so glorious. The team lost by only 20 points to the opposing alliance, but the team member’s spirit did not falter. Taking the robot back to the worktable, the team repaired any damaged parts and tested out a patched program, which fixed up problems that occurred in match 3. Match 4 was another close match with the Robotics team leading by 30 points due to penalty from the opposition resulting in a victory landing the team into tenth place. Match 5 would make or break the team. With the team in a 60 point deficit, Robot driver Krystal Riccardi ’16 managed to score into the high goal for a tremendous 70 points in the last 3 seconds of the match giving the opposition no time to respond to the sudden move securing a place within the top 8.
“It was so much easier to score into the high goal with the new robot. Out first design was really unstable,” said Krystal.
The battle wasn’t over for the team yet. The next matches would decide the fate of the team for the year. Picked into a 3 – team alliance, Midwood was to sit out for round 1 as their two other allies competed. Winning that match, it was time for Midwood to stand. During autonomous mode, Midwood’s robot did something that hadn’t been seen yet by any judge or team. The arm rose and attempted to dispense the balls into the high goal but jammed the balls with the paddle mechanism to dispense the balls. However, after autonomous mode was over and power to the robots reduced, the balls fell into the goal causing all matches to be halted for approximately 5 minutes while the judges talked abd debated about weather the points were allowed or not. The resulting answer was yes, the points were allowed. This resulted in a tie between the two alliances, a first seen by many of the judges and contenders. A tiebreaker match was allowed which resulted in a defeat for Midwood knocking them into eighth place.