By Kathy Ciarelli
Lake Orion High School, grade 12
Robotics Team 302 member
For the past four months, the team has been feverishly working six days a week to design, build, program, test and eventually compete with their robot, dubbed “Night Fury.”
A couple weeks ago (April 30 – May 1), Team 302, the Dragons out of Lake Orion, made their way to St. Louis for the FIRST Robotics World Championship. They started out on the Darwin Division Field, one of the 6 divisions that divided the 406 teams.
The first two days consisted of playing hard and communication. After qualification matches, the Dragons had a combined total of 3,071 points for a combination of 10 matches. After this came alliance selections. Team 302 was chosen by Team 1986 out of Missouri to be a part of the number one seed alliance.
As the number one seed alliance, they played to their strengths and ended with a combined point total of 3,021 after only 6 matches. Their 6 high-point victories, were enough to earn a Darwin field Championship and a place on the Einstein Field where the best of the best compete.
After hearing FIRST founder Dean Kamen and many other distinguished people speak, Einstein matches began. On the Einstein field the competition worked as a round robin tournament, with the top two moving on to duke it out in the finals.
In the five qualification matches Darwin Division’s Alliance won 3 of the 5 and scored a combined score of 2,553, which put them just ahead of the Daly field that, although having the same number of wins, only scored 2,471 in their 5 matches.
This ranking put Lake Orion’s alliance above many winning Einstein teams from all over the World, but also above many finalist Michigan teams including Canton, Kalamazoo, Milford, Berrien Springs and our closest rival, Oxford.
Moving on to World finals placed Team 302 head-to-head against the previous world champions, Team 254, the Cheesy Poofs out of San Jose, California (who had crash avoidance sensors), Canton’s team, Kalamazoo’s team and a team from New Jersey.
It was hard fight; the final match came down to a 3-point decision, with Darwin’s alliance (Lake Orion, Missouri, Texas, Connecticut) coming in second.
The weekend was very successful for Lake Orion, with Scripps Middle School’s FTC robotics team ranking 6th worldwide and the High School’s FRC alliance taking second at the World Championships.
The teams send out a big Thank You to all who have helped make this possible: our sponsors, mentors, parent volunteers and Lake Orion schools and community for supporting us!
FIRST is a special place where teams compete like crazy against and with each other, but still reach out to help one another to ensure all are able to compete at their highest potential.
FIRST is known as the Ultimate Sport for the Mind, while the students know it as “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.”
After all of this you might think FIRST is about the robot, but it isn’t: “It’s a machine to build the people who will change the world!”
By Kathy Ciarelli