By: Tomas Palmieri
The school’s robotics team, The Robodox, participated in the VEX Robotics World Championship in Houston, Texas on April 25. Through dedicated preparation, adaptability, and strong cooperation, they were able to place in the top 10 percent of the world, setting a new record for the school team.
In the 23 years that the team has been in action, this is the sixth time the Robodox were able to make it to the championship. This was, however, the first time they had gone two years in a row.
Their mentors, including head coach Diego Martinez, believe that this was likely the team’s best ever performance during the season, as well as the most unique, yet clever robot developed by the team.
Since attending the World Championship was not a guarantee for the team, they spent the early parts of the year planning for the possibility that they would be able to attend, making the actual preparation process for the event extremely rapid.
Despite this, many dedicated members of the team had been staying at school until 8:00 p.m. almost every weekday in addition to attending the usual weekend meetings in order to make sure they were completely prepared for the tournament.
“I was ecstatic, as this would be my first time going to Worlds,” junior Leah Atienza said. “I was proud of all of us and how all our hours of work were getting us there, and I was excited to meet top tier teams and international teams.”
The huge dedication from the team in the spring semester totals to about 16,000 hours across 32 members and 8 of the members, contributing over 700 hours each.
During their earlier matches, the team faced a handful of challenges regarding the robots performance such as wire breakage and the robot ceasing to move in some moments. Due to the quick preparation before the event, the team was also not able to fully implement a new addition to the robot.
“We ran into issues that did not come up in any of our other competitions, which threw us off a bit,” senior and Robodox President Danielle Trinh said. “As a result, morale was not very high on the first day. We combatted this by reminding each other to keep our heads up because half of the competition is just a mental game, and we bounced up by 20 rankings.”
The team’s ability to recover from early issues that they have never experienced before is a testament to both the team’s skill, but also cooperative and adaptable nature that allowed them to set the school record never achieved by the team before.
Regardless of the team’s current seniors moving on, The Robodox are still riding the momentum of what they call the “Bobot Era” into the next season, setting their sights higher and higher to hopefully achieve even greater feats. The team has worked tirelessly in order to attain valuable resources and connections with other teams and mentors that will be utilized in the coming season to improve the team’s experience and expertise.
“I am confident that the leaders for next year have the passion and dedication to build upon documentation the seniors and I are leaving behind,” Trinh said. “It will take some time to adjust, but they already have more experience than I had going into my first year of presidency.”
The Robodox may seek to prioritize building a new robot during the offseason, as during the last offseason the same tactic was employed in order to achieve the team’s current positive results.
The next season that Robodox competes in will be filled with passionate and hardworking members ready to enhance and iterate their robot to the point that they believe will bring them the best possible chances of success.