Robotics Excel with Top Honors, Stellar Season

Veteran FRC 2468 Team Appreciate and newcomer FRC 2689 Team Alpha set new standards with major awards, outstanding performances.
Team Alpha’s robot rushes back to score a note at the Waco district event from March 1 to 2. The orange foam rings, partially pictured, played a crucial role in their strategy, and their effective handling of these rings throughout the competition significantly boosted their overall success.

In a season marked by steady progress, robotics has achieved notable success and lasting triumph throughout their season. From rookie surprises to seasoned champions, the robotics teams have had a season for the books. While dominating competitions with both skill and strategy, robotics has proven to be a formidable force throughout the season.

The school’s veteran team, FRC 2468 Team Appreciate, continues its streak of excellence, achieving the prestigious Impact Award and leading the pack with a top-ranking and undefeated playoff run at the Ft. Worth Tournament March 15 and 16. 

Meanwhile, the newcomer FRC 2689 Team Alpha stunned the community by snagging a coveted Blue Banner and a Gold medal in their first-ever state championship appearance, qualifying them for the global stage. 

Notably, juniors Joann Cyriac and Riya Sahu advanced in the Dean’s List award, an opportunity for each FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team to recognize up to two sophomore and junior team members for their demonstrated leadership and commitment. This is a testament to their exceptional leadership and dedication, making them stand out among their peers.

 “It was so unreal,” Cyriac said. “I was kind of in shock, trying to process what it meant. I was so happy though because this award felt like a validation for all the work I put into the program. I started crying, and it was such an emotional moment,”  

Her emotional response reflects the deep significance of this honor, marking an important moment in her academic journey. With an impressive high score of 154 points, FRC 2468 has secured the highest possible points toward the state championships, solidifying their spot in the upcoming event.

Both teams were geared up for the World Championships which took place in Houston April 17 to 20. This year is the robotics department’s 11 time attending worlds since 2008. The most recent being last year where they won the “quality award” for their robot. Their blend of emerging talent and proven expertise redefined the future of competitive robotics. 

The veteran team, Team Appreciate, was selected for playoffs and advanced to the final, but ultimately, they did not win. Meanwhile the jv team, Team Alpha played ten matches but did not qualify for the playoffs.

Incorporating the structured preparation and tight timelines they operate under, the robotics teams not only demonstrated their robotic prowess but also an exceptional capacity for rapid development and execution. Although the robotics team did not bring home any awards from the world competition, they returned with invaluable knowledge and experience.

“We have off-season during the first semester, so all the first years and others will train and learn new skills,” freshman Karthik Peri said. “Then the week before school starts for our second semester, we get our challenge. After that, we have about eight weeks to build a robot and then about another eight weeks for competitions.” 

Team Alpha, FRC 2689, created their robot with an aluminum frame that is their drive base which has the wheels and motors to drive said wheels. There are green wheels to guide the game pieces into their shooter which is some polycarbonate plates attached onto their drivebase that guides. The robot also has a pivoting arm attached to the shooter structure that  extends in front and behind the robot. 

The task of this robot is to shoot orange foam rings into specific places on a game field. The process is to pick them up from the ground and place them on a side panel on the side of the field as well as shooting them into a vertically inclined scoring area. Most of their success on the field comes from organization and clarifying what needs to be done in order to advance onto the next tournament. 

This fast-paced schedule understates the many weeks of engineering and problem-solving that the students undergo each year. These efforts culminate in their performances at regional and state championships where they not only compete, but often set new standards of excellence in robotics competitions.

Their recent journey to world championships was a wave of anticipation and intensity for the teams.

 “Our coach likes to tell us that we can’t really describe Worlds to anybody who hasn’t been there,” Peri said. “It’s very in your face.” 

The stakes were high, they joined over 600 teams from around the globe in showcasing their robotic expertise on the world stage.

Both teams attribute their remarkable achievements to the pivotal role of cooperation and collaborative prowess.

“Communication is key,” Peri said. “We’ve had situations where somebody didn’t communicate and something happened to where it wasn’t the best situation to be in, so I think that communication is a skill you must have when going into these competitions.”

In the crucible of competition, they learned that while robotics prowess is indispensable, it is the synergy of communication and collaboration that truly propels teams toward victory.

“I would probably tell the new freshman that you can’t learn everything you want to learn during the offseason, so you just need to try your best when listening and learning,” Peri said. 

Looking ahead, they are excited by the challenges yet to come based on the experiences they valued this season. The legacy this season upholds far beyond the trophies and accolades, rather honors their level of teamwork and the unwavering pursuit of excellence.

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