Fighting Unicorns Place 1st at Robotics Competition

By: Tyler Sobolewski

     Robotics is like a sport but better. Need proof? One word- robots. Our school’s robotics team, the fighting unicorns went to a competition on the 23rd of September. The season takes place in the spring, but some places host off season events, for example Mahoning Valley Robotics Competition.

Everyone in drive team besides our coach (who instructs and strategizes) had graduated last year, so we were going to rotate out people who wanted to. As such, we arrived with low expectations. The first match we were in, the robot was driving to the left and wasn’t shifting to high gear, but we climbed our rope at the end, which was really the most important part of the match. The second match we were in had some communication issues in drive team, so we didn’t get the climb. The third and fourth match ran smoothly, but there was another issue climbing during the fourth match.

    We were ranked relatively high at this point, so we started to get our hopes up some. We were starting to take this more seriously. The last match was high pressure because this would be our last shot at placing well. We had some issues during the main portion of the match, but at the end, people forgot to put down the ropes which we needed to climb until the last seconds, so we didn’t get the climb. This was pretty unfortunate, but we were still ranked relatively high.

     The first eight seeds are the ones who are captains of the alliances of three teams. We were ranked ninth. One of the teams picked another team in the top eight and they accepted, so everyone else shifts over at this point. At the end of alliance selection, we were placed 7th seed captain.

    Quarter finals and semifinals ran smoothly. We made it into the finals, so it was just us versus one other alliance in a best of three.

    The first match, we won by a substantial amount. The second match, we were pretty neck and neck. One of the teams on our alliance forgot to preload balls, which would have gotten us more points. Two robots on our alliance lost comms for a period of time as well. It was a rickety match, but all that combined, we only lost by one point. These matches score between 150 and 310 normally, so we knew that we were going to win.

     The last match was upon us. We had gotten further than we could have hoped, but we were crossing our fingers that we would take home this win for the second year in a row. As soon as the final scores were announced, our team rushed down from the top of the bleachers to the ground area where our drive team was. Group hugs and smiles and winning- a snapshot of our team.

    August, our drive team coach was reminiscing on how far our team has come since he became coach his freshman year. The previous coach had only been in quarter finals once overall and now our team still wins as alliance captains with an all new drive team. We have moved on from asking others their strategy for the match to us being the strong team.

       As we were getting our alliance photo on the field with the trophy, I think we all kept that as a picture moment in our hearts.

     We are the fighting unicorns, and we do more than build robots. We’ve built a family, and we push each other to go further than we ever thought.