Robotics teammates build each other up

Photo Tess Herdman
Freshman Tejas Maraliga and senior captain Erika Lu drill into the metal surrounding the tubing that intakes balls into the robot.

Elissa Gorman, Assistant News Editor

Robotics Team 1100 placed 33th at the Granite State district event in Windham, New Hampshire on the weekend of March 3-6 and is taking time to reflect on their season together.

“We did not win a match all day Saturday… But despite that, we were the first pick for the seventh-ranked team at the competition,” St. Peter-Marian junior and strategy captain Anthony Galgano said.

The team competed in the Rhode Island District Event, and were ranked 26th and were then chosen by the 3rd ranked team for eliminations and progressed onto semi-finals on March 24-26. At the same event, one of the team’s mentors Algonquin alum Jason DesMarais was recognized as a Woodie Flowers Award Semi-Finalist, which recognizes “outstanding Mentor[s] in the robotics competition who best leads, inspires, teaches, and empowers their team using excellent communication skills”.

Although the team has a lot to work on, freshman Nadia Wong credited the competition as an opportunity to seek improvement.

“I feel like it’s brought us closer as a team, and knowing that even though our idea didn’t work out, we can still make another plan,” Wong said.

It was a lot of fun because you’ve worked so hard over the past few months and it’s fun to see the robot in action during competition day…”

— Sophomore Andy Zhao

The challenges the team faced did not stand in the way of their robot’s accomplishments.

“We were a top-tier robot,” senior and co-captain Zach Youssef said.  “Our robot itself, by the end of the weekend was very successful at completing the objectives.”

Regardless of the robot’s performance, the competition served as an opportunity for the team to bond.

“It was a lot of fun because you’ve worked so hard over the past few months and it’s fun to see the robot in action during competition day, where you’re with your friends joking around eating candy while complaining about scouting [observing other team’s robots],” sophomore Andy Zhao said.

60 student members and 10 mentors are divided into several sub teams, which all work together to complete the robot, which can include over 100 different parts.  Much of the success of the team depends on internal cooperation and devotion to the purpose.

“It’s a lot different than I expected,” Wong said.  “I expected to be going into here, and just kind of building robots and controlling them. But now it’s more like, you have a team that you work with, and within that team, there are other groups that the team you’re working in also works with, and it’s kind of this big hierarchy.”

Countless hours are spent preparing for these competitions.

“Monday and Wednesday is 6-9, Saturday is 10-12, and Friday is 5-9, but we have team dinners every Friday,” Zhao said.

For seniors, the experience of having been a part of this club has formed lasting memories.

“During New England Championship [2015] match, we actually fell over for the first time all season, and our partner managed to pick us up,” Youssef said.  “And it was great, because on the other side of the field, our opponents were getting a world high score. But everyone was watching us because they were so invested in our struggle. It was the most uplifting moment. The whole stadium was with us. It was simply fantastic.”

According to other members, one of the best parts of being on the team is the strong sense of community it creates to achieve a common goal.

“Once you get the hang of it, with all the help from all the different mentors and the other students here, they can teach you pretty much anything you wanna know about anything here,” sophomore Max Petrie said.  “Once you get started, you can do anything.”

“We used to say, people don’t build robots, robots build people,” senior Tess Herdman said.