Robotics qualifies for world tournament after successful state championship


Maia Bond, Staff Writer

Last weekend the top 48 Robotics teams across Missouri and Kansas gathered to compete in the State Championship held at MS&T. Two of Rolla’s teams attended, and one will be advancing to the world competition later this year in Houston, Texas.

Before the teams began competing, they were judged in the morning. Rolla won a second place Control Award, given based on how the team uses “sensors, unique or complex algorithms, and enhancements to have a consistent, high scoring autonomous and driver automation during the driver controlled period,”

They also won third place for the Motivate Award, given out for teams that reaches out to the community not only to recruit but to spread FIRST’s ideals.

As the competitions began, the crowd grew and hundreds attended to watch the robots compete. Two teams work together against two other teams to have their robots complete a task.

“What we have to do is collect wiffle balls and two inch blocks on the field and place them in this bin in the middle. We have to sort them whether it is a ball or block. Before the driver control period, first comes the autonomous period where the robot is controlled all by programmed preset into the phone. There, we have to knock a block off of a certain location, and that location is randomized depending on a dice roll,” Senior Jade Effinger said.

Along with that, they must also park the robot and come down from the landing. To start, each team must compete in five matches for the qualifying rounds. During this, their partners and opponents are completely randomized. Senior Pranal Madria and his team, 4964, worked together and ended up winning all five of their qualifying matches, even through some hiccups.

After winning those, they moved onto the elimination rounds, were they were able to choose their partners and alliances.

“Our scouting team had gathered data on every team in our division and every match they played prior to state as well as at state on Saturday. They did a fantastic job, we use their data and notes to find the best fit by looking at different statistics that we gather on them,” Madria said.

With the statistics and a team in mind going in, they were looking at teaming up with FTC Team 3409, the Astromechs. Last year the pair had worked together and won the State Championship, so when they picked Rolla’s team during the draft, they immediately accepted.

“For the third team in our alliance, we picked 9808 The Chargers, who were a great addition to the alliance. Our alliance won two out of two matches in our division semifinals, which led us to also win two out of two in our divisions finals. During these matches, two out of the three teams in our alliance would play together against another alliance,” Madria said.

During the second match of their division, Rolla and the Astromechs worked as partners and scored the winning 475 points pre penalized, which is currently the ninth highest score in the world. After going completely undefeated until this point, they went onto the state championship finals, were their alliance played the other winning alliance from the other division. They won again in their first match but lost the other two for a total of three matches between them.

Though losing those two matches, they won nearly every match they competed in all day and, because they were apart of their division’s winning alliance and a finalist, they will be traveling to the world competition for the third year in a row.