MEMBERS OF RED HAWKS Robotics visited the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
By HANNAH HASELTINE
HOUSTON, Texas — When it comes down to it, the fate of the robotics team boils down to how the robot performs at competitions, and the competitions are not what you might expect.
Nothing prepares you for the large-scale impact and overwhelming influence robotics has on students who participate in FIRST robotics programs until you are standing in a convention center with fifty-thousand people from around the world, brought together by their passion for STEM and robots, the air electric with excitement. Not only are there robotics competitions happening on all three floors, but there are also opportunities for students and alumni to network with colleges, companies, and sponsors who are all there to greet the future of STEM.
You cannot even begin to imagine what it is like until you get to see for yourself, and that’s only the beginning of what Melrose’s own Red Hawk Robotics got to experience when they showed up at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, for the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship for the first time in team history.
Six hundred and twenty FRC teams attended worlds and were divided into eight divisions, playing on eight fields spanning the ground floor of the convention center; the Red Hawks were one of 78 teams in the Daly division. They played in 10 qualification matches, and ranked 11th in their division with a record of 6-4-0. The team balanced their robot on the charge station, a bridge-like structure that tips to each side when a certain amount of pressure is applied, successfully in every single match; this was a feat that no other team in their division was able to accomplish.
Despite the competitiveness of their division, the Red Hawks were not to be overlooked during alliance selections. The team was honored to be the third pick of the second seed alliance going into the semifinals. Although their alliance’s run was short, the drive team impressed the veteran teams on their alliance with how focused and cooperative they were in high pressure situations, despite their lack of experience on the world stage. On the whole, the team had a ground-breaking season, finishing in the top 14% of FRC teams in the world, and in the top 16% of the United States. They hope to continue to show the world what they are capable of for many seasons in the future.
Going forward, the team will prepare to compete at several off-season competitions in New England, including BattleCry at WPI.