Robotics team gears up for competitions

Hands+up--+Senior+Jamie+Poole+%28right%29+and+freshman+Emma+Nollman+%28left%29+drive+their+robot+during+one+of+their+semifinal+matches.+The+team+made+it+to+the+finals+with+the+help+from+their+alliance+partners%2C+Sim-City+%28Simsbury%2C+Connecticut%29+and+Bobcat+Robotics+%28South+Windsor%2C+Connecticut%29.+
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Robotics team gears up for competitions

Hands up-- Senior Jamie Poole (right) and freshman Emma Nollman (left) drive their robot during one of their semifinal matches. The team made it to the finals with the help from their alliance partners, Sim-City (Simsbury, Connecticut) and Bobcat Robotics (South Windsor, Connecticut).

Hands up-- Senior Jamie Poole (right) and freshman Emma Nollman (left) drive their robot during one of their semifinal matches. The team made it to the finals with the help from their alliance partners, Sim-City (Simsbury, Connecticut) and Bobcat Robotics (South Windsor, Connecticut).

Charlie Bald

Hands up-- Senior Jamie Poole (right) and freshman Emma Nollman (left) drive their robot during one of their semifinal matches. The team made it to the finals with the help from their alliance partners, Sim-City (Simsbury, Connecticut) and Bobcat Robotics (South Windsor, Connecticut).

Charlie Bald

Charlie Bald

Hands up-- Senior Jamie Poole (right) and freshman Emma Nollman (left) drive their robot during one of their semifinal matches. The team made it to the finals with the help from their alliance partners, Sim-City (Simsbury, Connecticut) and Bobcat Robotics (South Windsor, Connecticut).

Kristy Pan, Editor-in-Chief

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The high school robotics team, the Second Law Enforcers (Enforcers), competed at three competitions during this year’s competition season. These events were in Waterbury, Connecticut from March 3 to March 5, Revere, Massachusetts from March 17 to March 19 and in Hartford, Connecticut from April 1 to April 2.

The game, Steamworks, begins with a 15-second autonomous period, where the robot is operated only on pre-programmed instructions. After this period ends, the three team alliances have their drivers take control of their robotics and with the remaining time (two minutes and 15 seconds) work to try to earn as many points as possible.

“The last 30 seconds are frenzied, because an alliance can score up to 150 bonus points if they can get all three of their robots to climb a rope and be suspended four and a half feet in the air. We have seen robots climb, but stop before the top; robots drop when their rope snaps; and robots finally get climbing with only five seconds left.  So many matches are decided in the last 10 seconds, which makes for exciting days,” math teacher and Co-Head Coach Michele Hall said.

The setup of the matches includes qualifying matches, where teams are randomly combined in three team alliances and compete against each other to try to win as many rounds as possible. From there, ranks are determined, and the top eight ranked teams choose two alliance partners for the playoffs.

This year is the twentieth anniversary of the team being a team and started off their competition season with a strong finish at Waterbury.

After playing qualifying matches at Waterbury, the team finished with a rank of 32 out of 42. Despite not being able to pick an alliance of their own, they were picked by the first seeded alliance for the playoff rounds.

During this competition, one of the parts on the robot critical to its climbing ability broke, and with the help from the team NRG4055 (Winchester, Connecticut), were able to quickly replace this part and continue in the playoff rounds.

“Without that part, we never would have been a finalist. When I suggested that we do something nice for them, the team pitched in with their own money to get their team pizza and cookies as a thank you. It was a great thing to see the team embody the idea of ‘gracious professionalism.’ While we may be opponents on the field, we all are supportive of each other’s successes,” Hall said.

With their alliance partners, Sim-City (Simsbury, Connecticut) and Bobcat Robotics (South Windsor, Connecticut), the teams worked together and made it to the finals of the playoffs. Despite not winning the competition, it is the first year the Enforcers made it to the final round of playoffs.

“The team really stepped up their game this year. They built a strong, reliable robot, and I was proud to see us compete in the finals for the first time in my career,” alumna Kaitlyn DaSilva said.

At their second competition in Revere, Massachusetts, despite the team coming in ranked last after their qualifying matches, they were picked by the eighth seeded alliance and finished the event in the quarterfinals after losing to the first seeded alliance.

Although the team did not advance further during the playoffs, they ended the event winning the Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, which recognizes the framework for a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage and achieve team objectives.

“I find it quite funny that we won this award despite this year being the first time we entered for it; however, I’m still really proud of my teammates who worked together to make this accomplishment happen,” sophomore Jaden Schubach said.

At the competition at Hartford, Connecticut, the Enforcers placed thirteenth overall and were picked by the fifth seeded alliance to continue to play in the playoffs. Their alliance partners for the playoff rounds were Buzz Robotics (Enfield, Connecticut) and Apple Pi (Guilford, Connecticut).

At this competition, the alliance team ended the event after going to the third round of the quarterfinals having won and lost a round. Despite this, the team is proud of their season as they won the Entrepreneurship Award at this event for the second time this season.

“As a senior on the team, I’m excited to see how far we have come this season. Just seeing the change in our team attitude and ability from last year to this year has been phenomenal, and I can’t wait to see what they can do in the future,” senior Hunter Caouette said.